It has been more than a week since a 6.3 magnitude quake rocked the city of Christchurch, New Zealand,resulting in the death of more than 148 people in the city of 350,000.
Large parts of the city’s infrastructure were also destroyed. While power has been restored to 85 per cent of homes, at least 55,000 do not have access to clean water, according to a running blog of updates on stuff.co.nz.
Steve Heap, operations manager at Bunnings Warehouse in Riccarton, told stuff.co.nz that his store was pulling in “a lot of dollars” on items like generators “flying out the door, mate.”
Stores across the city and surrounding area are doing a brisk trade on any items that people need in survival type situations. Several are discounting products to help out residents.
At Bunnings up to (US)$40,00 of stock was destroyed but even as supplies dwindle the prices are not going up. They are also selling items in bulk at cost to people trying to help residents.
“The obvious are the water containers, the gas cookers, gas bottles, gas refills out the front, wheel barrow, shovels,” said Heap.
“Solar showers we're selling as water containers now, because we're out of containers. We've sold watering cans as water storage containers _ it's just trying to think outside the square for the punters.
“It's all really survival mode stuff ... we've pulled things to the front like water purifiers, packaging, batteries, buckets.
“It's all those sort of things you can think of that people need is what we've been selling.”
Not that you would expect someone in a mid-sized city to try to profit from a disaster, but it is always satisfying to reading stories about how people step up or resist the urge to take advantage of people during times of need.
This might be a good time for me to put in a shameless plug for an organization I have enormous respect for in Canada called Global Medic. The organization flies around the world in times of disaster providing medical support and clean water. Donations can be year round on their website.