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Building damage and habitability in Christchurch after a distant source tsunami


This research assesses the impact of a 'worst case' 2500-year return period South American tsunami scenario on Christchurch communities. This includes damage to buildings, habitability of residential dwellings and the displacement of residents within the first week following the tsunami.

Key findings show approximately 950 buildings collapsed or washed away, 2150 buildings suffering moderate to complete damage, and 1600 buildings experiencing minor or no damage in the area inundated. On the first day of the tsunami wave arrival, approximately 5000 residential dwellings are uninhabitable, 11,000 residents displaced, representing all housing and population within the inundation area. At one week after the event, there are approximately 2850 uninhabitable residences and 6,250 people still displaced.


Emergency management relevance

This research assesses potential tsunami impacts to buildings in Christchurch, and can be used for tsunami scenario exercising and emergency management planning. The methods developed may be applied to other scenarios and locations.


Additional information

Authors: Finn Scheele

Date: 2016

Funders: Environment Canterbury, Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management

Format: Master of Science thesis - University of Canterbury

Reference: Scheele, F. (2016). Impact assessment of a far-field tsunami scenario for building damage and habitability in Christchurch, New Zealand: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Hazard and Disaster Management at the University of Canterbury, Department of Geological Sciences