Thursday, September 9, 2010

Earthquake in Christchurch

You may have heard that on the 4th September there was an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, measuring 7.1 magnitude.

We were right in it. And it was FREAKY! It was a cold morning and there was a loud BOOM and everything started shaking. We bolted out of bed and jumped under the door clutching each other as the floor rolled beneath us like a boat and things went crashing down around the house (all our tall book cases fell over) and it just went on and on... For almost a minute. Then silence, puncuated by car alarms sounding all over the town. It was 4.35 am. We fossicked for torches and inspected the damage by torchlight before huddling on beanbags with blankets in the doorframes for about an hour before going back to bed. There are constant aftershocks - ranging from barely noticeable to magnitude 5.3. We took a walk around the neighbourhood - lots of fallen chimneys, and burst water pipes and a number of collapsed buildings.

These are the ones in my neighbourhood:

(some of these structures have already been demolished)

My family and friends are okay, and suffered surprisingly little damage. But several suburbs are under mud, with sinking houses and anyone living in an old brick house may face it being condemned. It's surreal driving around the city - most houses look fine from the outside, but then you'll suddenly come to a block of shops that have "pancaked". The aftershocks are taken their emotional toll. Noone has had much sleep, we're constantly tensing up and people are liable to snap at a moment's notice. In the last four days we've had well over 100 aftershocks. These range from barely noticeable up to 5.6, but it was yesterday morning's 5.1 that actually caused the most alarm. Because it was very shallow and a lot closer to the city, it truly felt like the big aftershock they've been threatening.

So please, send your thoughts the way of my humble little city. Not just me - I'm fine, but those that have lost their houses, their livelihoods. It is a miracle that noone lost their life.

1 comment:

Momo said...

Good to know that you are well. My thoughts are with those who are recovering from the devastation. Do take care.