Christchurch, New Zealand (AFP) Sept 7, 2010
New Zealand's major 7.0 earthquake disrupted supplies from one of the country's biggest breweries, an official said Tuesday, warning operations may not return to normal for weeks.
The Lion Nathan brewery, which has stood in central Christchurch since the 1850s, was little damaged in Saturday's jolt but a nearby warehouse was badly shaken, with much of its beer, wine and spirit stock smashed.
"Our offsite... warehouse has been significantly affected and remains closed. We are currently looking for alternative warehousing but we have lost considerable inventory," Lion Nathan spokeswoman Judy Walter told AFP.
Walter said the company was currently filling urgent orders only out of its Auckland stores and though supplies to Christchurch would resume within 24 hours, it could be "a number of weeks" before drinks were again flowing freely.
Lion Nathan was using all available resources to resolve the damage and address supply delays, she added.
The brewery itself, which produces six beers including international brands Becks, Guinness and Kilkenny and supplies the entire South island, had been "largely assessed by a structural engineer and cleared for use," Walter said.
"The clean-up process is now underway there, but production is unlikely to recommence before the end of next week as all machinery needs to be fully inspected and tested," she said.
earlier related report
Canterbury University Law student Sam Johnson hit on the idea after learning that lessons had been cancelled for a week after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand's second largest city on Saturday.
"On Saturday night I saw all these Facebook groups like 'I survived the quake, lets party' and 'buy a T-shirt, Christchurch quake 2010' had sprung up," the 21-year-old told AFP.
"I thought 'come on guys, surely we can do something more positive than that and do something positive for the community'."
Johnson set up the group "student volunteer base for earthquake clean up", calling on his peers to get out and help clear the debris littering Christchurch after New Zealand's most destructive quake in almost 80 years.
"The response has been overwhelming," he said, describing how 300 people turned up to help on the first day and almost 1,900 have registered to join the group on the social networking website.
The volunteers were equipped with shovels, wheelbarrows and buckets, then set to work in groups of 20 around the city, liaising with emergency services authorities.
"We've had residents break down in tears when we go around," Johnson said.
"Their gardens are covered in silt up to the top of the daffodils and they've found it difficult to cope. They just appreciate a bit of help."
He said it was not just university students who were prepared to get their hands dirty.
"We've had schoolkids too, it's great to see the little tykes in there getting stuck in," he said.
"It's hard physical work, people have been going home exhausted."
Aside from people in Christchurch volunteering, the website group has also receive more than 5,000 messages of support from around the country and as far afield as Spain and Britain.
"What a wonderful thing you guys are doing, wish I could just up and come down to Christchurch and help you all out," wrote Tanya Williams of Rotorua, in New Zealand North Island.
There were also offers to help Christchurch residents experiencing computer problems, drive volunteers to sites and do the laundry of households still without water.
"Me and my three kids 11, 9 and 6 wanna help somewhere, they have their shovels ready, where needs help??," wrote local woman Kirsteen Adam.
Johnson said the initiative would have been impossible without social networking technology.
"Maybe you could have done something with email but you couldn't have reached these numbers," he said.
"If people phone up and log their interest in volunteering at a call centre they can feel they've been overlook, with Facebook, people can involve themselves directly.
But Johnson said the outbreak of community spirit could have its drawbacks for Christchurch's student population.
"It's certainly ruined our reputation for just drinking and being quite useless," he said.
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Christchurch, New Zealand (AFP) Sept 6, 2010
New Zealand extended a state of emergency in earthquake-hit Christchurch Monday as the army enforced a no-go zone with an estimated 100,000 homes damaged. Strong aftershocks continued to rock New Zealand's second-largest city following Saturday's 7.0-magnitude quake, prompting officials to close schools, shops and businesses. "The state of emergency has been extended until midday Wednesd ... read more
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