Here in earthquake country, big quakes anywhere in the world command attention. This evening (Pacific time; just before 1 p.m. Tuesday NZ time), a shallow 6.3 temblor struck New Zealand's South Island, causing casualties and severe damage in Christchurch. We'll be checking with the local U.S. Geological Survey and Bay Area emergency management agencies (and others concerned with disaster response) about whether they’re looking at this for lessons to be learned for our own region.
Christchurch is a city of 390,000. It's a city accustomed to living with seismic risks. On Dec. 26, a quake hit that forced cancellation of the traditional Boxing Day shopping holida. Its infrastructure would appear to be quite modern. But it’s experiencing many of the problems – including total shutdown of power and water infrastructure and a badly impaired communications system – that we worry about here in the Bay Area.