MabelAt 12.51 PM a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Christchurch like none had before. At a depth of only 5km and centered near Lyttelton, the quake reeked massive devastation on the city of Christchurch. The current confirmed/identified dead stands at 166. The toll is expected to reach about 200.
 
Immediately after this tragic event, people all around the world started checking with friends and family to see that they came through with their life. It’s nearly two weeks on and still everyone in the South of New Zealand is sharing their experience. Have you lost friends or family? Which part of Christchurch are you from? Have you got power restored yet?
  
More than 20000 homes are still without power, water & sewerage. Many of these families moved to friends’ houses on the west side of town or out of the city all together. Camping in tents, garages and spare rooms has become the norm.

Heading to Picton just after the quake I boarded the ferry, at Wellington, with several trucks on their way to Christchurch loaded with Porta-Loos. Today it remains one of the biggest needs for the people of Christchurch. There have been about  1000 Porta-Loos and 5000 chemical toilets distributed by Army services. Another 20000 chemical toilets are expected in coming weeks.
 
In Christchurch Everyone Has a Story. A conversation with a work colleague, Brydon, last week helps put things into perspective. “Look Phil, I fair shit myself. I was in town when it happened. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The whole town was like a bomb had gone off. My family are staying in Rangiora with friends while I’ve been staying at my place (in Brighton) each night. You’ve got no idea how much action there is on the street after dusk. The sun goes down and all the looters come out. I just had my first shower in more than a week!” These are just some of the things he had to say. Brydons main concern after power is restored is to put more bracing on his home - More strengthening to protect his family in the next big one...
 
Another friend suggests “Just try and spend one day without power, water and your toilet. Then you’ll see what it’s really like…”
 
Known as liquefaction, approximately 250000 tonnes of silt has flooded the streets in the eastern side of the city. As with every aspect of the crisis, it’s been a case of mates helping mates, neighbours helping neighbours. Meeting people they would never otherwise have met. Together they have shovelled up an enormous amount of silt. A convoy of trucks have then collected the piles of silt which lined the streets. Traffic controllers at strategic intersections have been stopping regular traffic to allow these trucks right of way.

Many I have talked to in the industry say their business has been interrupted. Buildings they have cabinets built for have been red stickered (Condemned) Racks of sheet material have tipped over and damaged jobs in the factory. A 45 minute trip to work now takes 4 hours. For others, it's a case of getting back to routine as soon as practical. Generators are in great demand and there is still a shortage of three phase power.
 
Throughout the disaster, Christchurch’s mayor, Bob Parker has fronted the television cameras and kept the world up to date with facts, figures and the latest plan of action for search and rescue. No survivors have been found for well over a week so the rescue efforts have been reclassified as a recovery effort. Bob plans to make a pathway through the cordoned area so that the locals can walk through the heart of the city safely and come to terms with the reality of the devastation. 50% of all historic buildings in the CBD are set to be demolished.
 
New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key called for two minutes silence last Tuesday at 12.51 pm, exactly 1 week after the event. It was a deeply emotional moment for every New Zealander as we stopped to reflect on the reality of the quake.
 
As Captured by a Tourist – The Moment the Quake Hit
 

 Story by Phil Smith, Planit Reseller, New Zealand. 5th March, 2011.


Previous  |  Next