Some of you may already know but the city in which I live, Christchurch, New Zealand) was devastated by a 6.3 Magnitude earthquake on 22 Feb 2011. This was in a totally different location to the September Quake and much, MUCH, MUCH more destructive with lose of life. It hit at a depth of 5km and about 10km directly south of us.
Tim had left on a three day holiday to Blenheim on the motorbike only an hour before the quake struck at 12.50. He didn’t have his phone on the whole way, which was not normal, and didn’t know what had happened until he was 4 hours away from me.
I was on the computer when it hit and raced out for the hallway and held on for dear life. I was watching Ice Wind swinging left and right in from of me and I was screaming. Although I couldn’t hear myself due to the unbelievable noise. Unlike the September quake this one had the largest sounds of glass smashing and crashing.
It didn’t last long but it was powerful.
Once it was over I headed for the front door, and that’s when I saw start of the damage. There was a wall cabinet tipped over with the doors smashed off and a glass slide door smashed. I just saw that and headed out the door.
I started sobbing in the driveway and couldn’t believe it had happened again. I was pacing around and then noticed the chimney had come down, just missing the car. I decided I had to get Tim to turn around and get home. I went back in, not thinking about glass etc and went back to the computer room to get my cell phone and realised I couldn’t get into that room anymore. I couldn’t understand it. Than realised that the wall unit behind the door had fallen over and I couldn’t get in to shift it back. I went then to grab my old phone from the kitchen and then found that the fridge/freezer had tossed everything out. Including a jar of blackcurrant jam that was broken all over the carpet.
So I used that phone to take some photos which aren’t the best.
That phone doesn’t have all the important numbers in it so I realised I had to get into that room to get that phone. Thankfully our neighbour Dallas was home and I could get him to head over to see if he could shift the unit. After tossing bits out of the way he could push his way into the room and put the unit back and then a large aftershock hit and we both headed for the doorways again. It wasn’t too large but after the 6.3 it was bloody scary. I thanked him and then went about sending Tim messages.
I spent that day picking up stuff for a few minutes then heading outside to sit on the step at listen to the radio. I didn’t really want to have to face the clean up due to the fact I had no idea where to start. Every room was a mess, except the conservatory which just had a twisted door which is now jammed shut.
There was no power, water or sewage and as of the second day we had no phone line although it was there on the first day.
As the day went on I slowly got through letting tasked I had set myself, sort the DVDs back on the shelf, pick up the crockery by the door, load the fridge; just little things like that.
I never even attempted anything in the guest room
One good thing about Tim not being here is, thankfully, that he was able to get some water containers and non perishables and borrowed his parent’s car to head back straight away.
He managed to make the trip home, but the roads have been severely damaged and it took him longer than an hour longer than the trip usually would. He picked up some Subway and filled up with petrol (which took over 20mins). It appeared that everybody was heading out of the city that night.
We spent Wednesday cleaning up the bits that I hadn’t got to and packing all the valuables while constantly putting up with aftershocks and we headed north as well. We are now at my parents where we’ve got to see the damage and its heart-breaking.
(photos are taken from our drive north)
Tim has now headed back down with his brother to fix the roof and give the house a good clean before I am allowed to return which by the sounds of things could be up to a week away. I am extremely stir crazy and I think I’m breaking out in hives due to the stress and would, in spite of everything going on down there, still rather be at home. Tim has built a cool long-drop in a tin shed down the back of the property due to no sewerage, and the water is still days, if not weeks away, but the power and phone is on and I don’t travel much so I could handle it.
This website shows some before/after photos of some of the damage that has occurred. I so dearly want more coverage of the outer suburbs and areas t
Please, if you can, support Christchurch by donating HERE.
This is an official New Zealand government site and a legitimate place to donate.