An earthquake can be over in seconds but can cause enough destruction to affect communities for many months. Find out what to expect after an earthquake and what action you can take to recover.

What to expect after an earthquake

Experiencing an earthquake can be frightening. You and others around you may be injured or in a state of shock. Your home or workplace may be damaged and you may have difficulty contacting loved ones.

The earthquake may have caused other hazards such as loose debris, unsafe roads, exposed live electrical wiring and gas leaks, contaminated water supplies or other environmental health risks. It’s important to stay alert, calm and aware of your surroundings.

Recovery can be difficult, and it may be emotional and stressful for you and your family. During this time, it is essential to look after your wellbeing.

It is important to stay up to date with the latest official warnings and alerts by visiting

When your home is damaged

If you need help removing debris, call your local government. For emergency temporary repairs needed to make your home safe, phone the State Emergency Service on 132 500.

Be aware that calls for assistance are prioritised to assist those most in need, so it might take several hours or even days before help may come.

For emergency accommodation and assistance:

Insurance, repairs and rebuilding

Contact your insurance company to report any damage or loss as soon as possible. They will send an assessor to your property to process your claim. Depending on their advice, you may be able to begin repairs as soon as is practical.

Check with your insurance company before entering a contract with cleaning or repair contractors to avoid additional bills. If safe to do so, collect photo evidence of damage for insurance purposes before removing debris or repairing.

If you are a tenant with home contents insurance, contact the insurer and tell your real estate agent or landlord.

If you cannot remember the name of your insurance company or the details are unavailable, you can contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1300 728 228 for assistance.

Securing your property

Your wellbeing

The Department of Communities can provide personal support services and practical assistance such as: help to access or replace identity documents, advocacy, counselling, and psychological support, and referral to other support service providers.

To speak to someone about wellbeing support that may be available to you, call the Disaster Response Hotline on 1800 032 965.

Most people will recover over time with the support of family and friends. However, after a crisis, it is often easier to talk to a professional who is not involved in the situation and is trained to listen. Organisations that can help with counselling, support and referrals include:

  • Crisis Care: Call 9223 1111 or free call 1800 199 008 (day or night)
  • Lifeline: Visit the Lifeline website or call 13 11 14  
  • The Samaritans: Visit The Samaritans website or call 135 247.
Let people know your temporary contact details
Getting back to normal

More Information

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Prepare for an earthquake

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During an earthquake

Find out what to expect during an earthquake and how to stay safe.

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