ONE year ago more than 140 Australian disaster assistance specialists made their way to New Zealand to rescue and assist people caught up in the country’s most deadly earthquake.
On the anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake, those emergency taskforce members will be honoured with a plaque at a memorial service in the still damaged city.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), who lead the two Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Australian task forces, will represent emergency workers at the service on Wednesday, with Deputy Commissioner John Benson accepting the plaque.
A total of 185 people were killed when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 10 kilometres from the centre of Christchurch on February 22 one year ago.
Australian task forces, which included paramedics, doctors, firefighter rescue specialists and other trained personnel, landed in the city one day later and were the first international rescue team to arrive.
FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said the task forces worked tirelessly searching for people and assisting those in need.
“The scale of the emergency was incredible,” he said in a statement.
“Over 23 days, the task forces worked for hours on end searching for people in the rubble…
“NSW firefighters were able to rescue one person from the Pyne Gould Building, which was a wonderful experience given the extent of the damage around them.”
The city has been hit by a series of aftershocks and earthquakes since February last year, including another 6.3 magnitude earthquake in June.
Several buildings around the city have been torn down as rebuilding continues.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Christchurch as they continue to rebuild their homes and businesses,” Commissioner Mullins said.
The plaque will be presented to Deputy Commissioner Benson by the Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker.