Thanks to modern building codes and sound disaster insurance policies, the damage from Tuesday's devastating New Zealand earthquake was limited.
John Kirk-Anderson/Christchurch Press/Reuters
Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealanders have received a violent wake-up call: It's past time to be prepared for the "Big One" – the long-feared major earthquake authorities have been warning about for years.
As this small island nation picks up the pieces from the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that walloped its second-largest city, Christchurch, leaving scores dead and hundreds of people still trapped, officials are set once again to assess whether routinely dire warnings have yet led to the hoped-for sea change in the nation's preparedness.
Local building regulations in place since the mid-2000s appear to have served the city well, according to Graeme Beattie, a structural engineer in Christchurch this week to look at the seismic response of structures.