Friday, February 25, 2011

Christchurch disaster - and finding safe food

No one has been left untouched by the horror of the Christchurch earthquake - even if we don't live there, we know someone or have family who are affected.

With the lack of water and limited food, we have been worrying for people on specialised diets - particularly those with food allergies.

During the last earthquake, we helped people locate specialised formula and our concern at Allergy New Zealand is that there will be families affected again.

If you know anyone in Christchurch who needs help with specialised food, please let us know so we can do what we can to help. You can call us on 0800 34 0800 ext 2.

This does bring home the message that everyone needs to prepare for disaster - particularly if you or someone in your family has a food allergy. We see the Get Ready, Get Through ads on TV, showing us what to do in case of a national emergency and many of us think it will never happen.

So go to the Get Ready, Get Through website and see what you need to do.

In the meantime, here is their basic list of what you should have in your cupboard (which will hopefully survive a disaster).

Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch.

Radio with spare batteries.

Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.

First aid kit and essential medicines.

Blankets or sleeping bags.

Pet supplies.

Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet.

Face and dust masks.

Check all batteries every three months. Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest. Do not use candles as they can tip over in earthquake aftershocks or in a gust of wind. Do not use kerosene lamps, which require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.

Food and water for at least three days.

Non-perishable food (canned or dried food.

Food, formula and drinks for babies and small children.

Water for drinking. At least 3 litres per person, per day.

Water for washing and cooking.

A primus or gas barbeque to cook on.

A can opener.

Check and replace food and water every twelve months. Consider stocking a two-week supply of food and water for prolonged emergencies such as a pandemic.

If you have ever been in a disaster situation - or you have prepared for one - please let us know what you have done.

In the meantime, our thoughts are with everyone in Christchurch.


  1. On the Allergy NZ facebook group, a nurse from Christchurch has reminded people to boil water before use. Even for brushing your teeth. There is already a case of gastroenteritis where someone brushed their teeth with unboiled water.

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