15 Feb 2016

Quake a setback for recovery

5:57 am on 15 February 2016

An organisation set up to help Cantabrians cope mentally after the two big quakes says some people will struggle following yesterday's strong tremor.

Liquefaction on Bower Avenue In North New Brighton/ Parklands.

Liquefaction on Bower Avenue In North New Brighton/ Parklands. Photo: RNZ/ Sally Murphy

'All Right?', run by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation, said the 5.7 quake will have been a big setback for some residents' mental recovery.

Public health specialist with the board Lucy D'Aeth said some people would feel like they had lost a lot of ground and would revert to worrying about whether there would be more big quakes.

"People will be very shaken up, it's a horrible shock just before the fifth anniversary ... we haven't had a shake like this in a long time and it will have given people a hell of a fright."

Lucy D'Aeth, Public Health Specialist, Canterbury District Health Board.

Lucy D'Aeth, Public Health Specialist, Canterbury District Health Board, Photo: RNZ / Laura Bootham

Ms D'Aeth said residents should try to connect with each other and do physical activity to combat any stressful feelings, even if it was just a walk round the garden.

Exercise in particular would help people with pent-up stress and adrenaline.

She said the jolt may have reawakened feelings experienced after the first two big earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Recovery from natural disasters such as the previous two damaging big quakes can take up to 10 years.

Ms D'Aeth said there would be a ripple effect with disruption for children as well with some schools closed.

She called for Cantabrians to be gentle with each other, but also the rest of the country with them.

"We're still in recovery and this will have set us back, so we're asking for your patience in dealing with us please."

People wanting to talk about their feelings or seeking help are urged to call the 'All Right?' helpline on 0800 777 846 and speak to one of its trained staff.

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