Source: Canterbury District Health Board, 16 November
Canterbury medical officer of health Dr
Alistair Humphrey and two Canterbury DHB health protection officers
flew to Kaikoura today to provide public health support to the
Dr Alistair Humphrey says this is a critical time for
preventing infectious disease outbreaks. "Power
cuts, damaged sewerage infrastructure, people sharing
accommodation and a lack of access to clean drinking water can
create ideal conditions for the spread of infectious
diseases," Dr Humphrey says.
"We will be working to ensure people have access to the right
information and that systems are in place to address any water and
sanitary health issues, or psychosocial issues, that may
"It's up to everyone in and around the area most affected by the
earthquakes to do everything they can to prevent disease outbreaks.
Everyone needs to thoroughly wash their hands or use hand sanitiser
after toileting, and before and after eating or preparing food.
"People in the affected area need to boil their drinking water
or, if that's not possible, treat it with ¼ teaspoon of bleach per
two litre container of water."
Dr Humphrey says anyone who is even remotely unwell should
contact their GP team immediately, limit contact with other people,
and not prepare food.
Dr Lucy D'Aeth, Chair of the Greater Christchurch Psychosocial
Committee, says ongoing aftershocks, sleep deprivation and the
enormity of the clean-up job may now begin to hit
D'Aeth says it's important people check on their neighbours and
spend time on things, which are good for their wellbeing.
"One of the best things you can do to look after yourself is to
connect with others in your community. You don't need to go through
"Helping others and giving your time can make a big difference,
whether it's helping someone with a big clean up job or spending
time talking to people about how they are doing.
"Doing exercise is also a proven mood booster - even a little
bit can help a lot."
As part of the response to these earthquakes, additional staff
have been rostered on to the Canterbury Support Line. The free
phone line (0800 777 846) is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
and can arrange appropriate support for people affected by the