From the New Zealand Herald:
Millions of books have been thrown from the shelves and an acclaimed collection of Greek and Roman antiquities worth millions of dollars has been badly damaged at the University of Canterbury.
Reports are emerging of varying degrees of damage to buildings and contents within some of the region’s schools and universities.
All schools and early childhood centres are shut until at least tomorrow while they are assessed for damage, and the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and Otago University’s Christchurch campus are closed until next week.
University of Canterbury vice-chancellor Dr Rod Carr said examples of some damage already discovered include visible cracks in some of the 80 buildings, a toppled chimney, structural damage to walkways, stairwells and lifts, water damage, dislodged ceiling tiles and a substantial amount of broken glass.
Inside, there have been chemical spills, “more than a million books” have been thrown off shelves and some treasured specimens and collections have been destroyed.
The James Logie Memorial Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities is one such example of a collection that has suffered significant damage.
The collection, established in the 1950s in memory of university registrar James Logie, is valued at several million dollars and includes nearly 250 items.
Dr Alison Griffith, head of the classics programme, said staff were heartbroken at the extent of the damage.
At Lincoln University, initial reports indicate that the Memorial Hall has been severely damaged and a spiral staircase inside the library has fallen away. There is also a lot of broken glass around the campus.
Meanwhile, the NZ Educational Institute is encouraging schools and early childhood staff to listen to advice and keep away from quake-affected buildings and classrooms while they are assessed for damage.
The union has been fielding calls from concerned principals and teachers who want to visit their schools and centres to inspect the damage but president Frances Nelson said they needed to wait until it was safe.
“Civil Defence and the Education Ministry are rightfully taking the most cautious approach and assessors are trying to get around schools and centres as quickly as possible. The message is this is a blanket ban and no one should be at their school or centre or be instructed to go into a situation where there are clear health and safety hazards.”
Post-Primary Teachers Association president Kate Gainsford said there had been “an outpouring of concern from teachers around the country and the organisation was ready to put resources” into helping affected members if they needed it. The quake was a timely reminder for all schools to have a crisis management plan ready.