The September 4, 2010, Mw 7.1 “Darfield” earthquake and the associated aftershock sequence affected the central Canterbury Plains of New Zealand’s South Island, an area of high-intensity agricultural production, supported by rural service towns. With rural organizations exposed to intense ground shaking that caused widespread critical service outages, structural and non-structural damage to built infrastructure, as well as ground-surface damage from flooding, liquefaction or surface rupture, the event represented a unique opportunity to study the impacts of a major earthquake and aftershock sequence on farming and rural non-farming organizations. This paper analyses the short-term impacts on 56 farming organizations and compares them to the impacts on 22 rural non-farming organizations 4 months following the event. The most commonly cited direct impacts on farming organizations were disruption to electrical services, water supply disruption, and structural damage. For rural non-farming organizations, the most common direct impacts were non-structural damage, electricity disruption, and damage to equipment. The effect of stress on farmers was the greatest organizational challenge while rural non-farming organizations cited maintaining cash flow to be of greater significance. In terms of mitigating the effects of the event, farming organizations cited well-built buildings and insurers to be helpful generally, and their neighbors to be most helpful specifically in areas of higher intensity shaking. Rural non-farming organizations utilized lenders or insurers, and showed very little use of neighbor relationships. In summary, this study emphasizes the fact that farming and rural non-farming organizations are impacted and respond to an earthquake in ways that are fundamentally distinct.
- 512 Business and Management