Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The earthquake

Here I sit, staring at the computer screen, wanting to write a post about yesterday's 6.3 magnitude quake in Christchurch and feeling that I should, but unsure where to start.

I guess that a good starting point to this, my personal story, would be to say that our house is based about 20km Southwest of Christchurch, very close to the epicentre of the September 4th 7.1 magnitude earthquake. To illustrate this, go to this page and watch the animation of the locations of the aftershocks unfold. You cannot even read the name of our town under the thick layer of dots.

The fact that we live so close to the earlier quake means that we have been shaken more strongly than the inhabitants of Christchurch over recent months. It has not been unknown for me to feel a strong aftershock at home that hubby has not felt in his office in central Christchurch. To illustrate how local quakes can be, we did not even feel the Boxing Day aftershock which caused significant damage in central Christchurch.

For all that we are located close to the epicentres of the Sept 4th quake and its aftershocks, we are fortunate that we live in an area which is geologically sound and has not suffered the devastating effects of liquefaction. The houses around us do not show obvious signs of the difficult time that they have had over recent weeks. The houses are generally new build, so there are no chimneys to fall down.

When yesterdays quake struck, I was at home with my two children, a friend and her 8 month old daughter. We initially thought it was just another strong aftershock, but it seemed to go on... and on... and on. It was really rolling and it seemed as if we were at sea and being battered back and forth by the waves.

The minute it stopped, the phone rang. It was hubby from central Christchurch saying that the quake had been REALLY strong, he sounded scared and emotional. When I got off the phone, I thrust the phone in my friends hand and told her to call her husband. His office looks out over Cathedral Square. He told us that the cathedral had lost its roof and of significant damage to a couple of other buildings that he could see. We KNEW that it was bad.

My friend left pretty quickly, she wanted to check on her house and pets. My neighbour came through to check on me and the kids. Text messages and emails flew back and forwards, we posted on facebook to say that we were safe and then I settled down infront of the television watching the horror unfold.

It took hubby 4.5 hours to get home. He had to take a long detour to get to the car and passed lots of horrific scenes on the way. He then had to drive over cracks in the road and small patches of liquefaction as well as negotiate gridlocked roads.

For me the whole situation is rather surreal. I am in our safe little house with water and power while I know that there is total devastation just along the road in Christchurch.

Hubby has just left to go to a meeting with any of his colleagues who choose to attend. I sent him with a car load of bottles of water for anyone who may need it. I just want to help, but know that the best thing that I can do is stay at home out of the way of the emergency services. So far we have not discovered any friends who are missing or injured, but time will tell if this situation is accurate.

Hubby has a very different experience of this quake. He says that though the force of the quake was comparable, the reality and horror of the quake is greater due to the screaming and sounds of breaking glass that accompanied this quake. He has walked through the streets of the CBD and seen the situation with his own eyes. Having worked with the emergency services in the aftermath of the September the 4th quake, he knows without a doubt that this one is SO much worse.

For those wanting to help, the following are a few sources that I have found:
The Red Cross is taking donations
  • KFR is running an auction again
  • Scamps Eco Boutique is putting together care packages Louise is looking for donations and has collection points around the country
  • The Nappy Lady is putting together Care packages
  • Leonie at Kiwi at Heart is organising Softies for Christchurch I for one will be making a softie as I have seen first hand the stress exhibited by children and their parents. Any and all geastures of love and support are greatly appreciated.
  • The students are planning to go out in force again and help the community
There are no doubt many more ways that you can help, so please do your bit and help Canterbury in any way that you can. We need and greatly appreciate your help.


  1. Hugs x
    Luckily your Hubby got through to you straight away. Our phone lines were down and I didn't hear from my DP for about an hour after the quake. It was the scariest/longest hour of my life.

    DP is back at work already in the city center :(

  2. Oh what a terrible experience you and your family have been through. I just can't imagine.
    Stay safe and strong. We will all continue to pray for you and the people of Christchurch.

  3. What a stressful time for you all.
    I have been thinking of you and hoping all was ok. Glad to hear you are safe.
    Take care. Thinking of you.

  4. I have just stumbled across your blog and want you to know that our hearts are with you Christchurch xxx I am in Auckland and have spent many hours and days in tears feeling so helpless.
    I am doing Quilts For Christchurch - after the September quake I completed 35 quilts, 2 managed to get down there prior to Christmas to Lou across at Seaside Siblings and another I posted to a good friend in Christchurch the day afterwards, the following 32 are on their way along with many many others that are making their way from around the world.
    If there is anything you need or want please let me know and I can do a call out on my blog xxx


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