Ten days since the Christchurch earthquake and looting is still going on in the city. News reports are studiously avoiding the use of the L word (“police staff in the city centre have clamped down on any reports of looting...”) preferring instead to refer to the preying on earthquake victims as ‘burglary.’
A recent report in Stuff tells the heart rending story of two sisters who took a respite from the aftershocks and returned to their home to find wheelbarrow tracks across their ransacked home.
One of the sisters, Elizabeth Shipston, age 21 told Stuff:
“It was crazy. I got a bit upset and a bit teary,” she said. “I was just so amazed that, after such a bad earthquake and the shock, someone could do this.”
She said their house was not structurally damaged in the September 4 quake, but lost two chimneys. To add to her problems, boyfriend Roy Sutherland’s car was stolen from outside the house early yesterday.
“His car was sort of like the final straw. It’s horrible.”
Sounds like the chances of the police finding those responsible are zero to none
Mr Shipston, a former policeman, told his daughters to do their own investigations. After noticing the house smelled of smoke, they searched for cigarette butts, finding two and bagging them for police. None of the family smokes.
A neighbour had reported a black car containing two men and a woman parked outside.
However, it was the following statement that surprised us – there seems to be a lack of a sense of community spirit in some parts of Christchurch
Miss Shipston said she did not expect her neighbours to know something was wrong. “Neighbours don’t really know each other until something like an earthquake happens.” Read the full report here
But even then one can’t expect them to keep an eye on one’s home.
This is yet another reminder that when a major disaster stikes New Zealand one has to be prepared to look after oneself for many weeks afterwards – until something resembling the rule of law returns.