We’re fine after the earthquake, but things are not back to normal in Christchurch – to give visitors an idea of the damage, here are a couple of shots I took on Saturday morning. I was having a week off work anyway, which is well-timed given the circumstances, and I’ll blog occasionally over this time.
My story: I was fast asleep until about 4.35am on Saturday morning. The bed started to jiggle, a bit like when Manly Jack gets the leg twitch thing going, but instead of stopping, this became much more violent. We could both hear crashing, tinkling sounds as things were falling off shelving, and we leaped out of bed to grab a torch and stand in the doorway. We must have stood there for at least a minute while the house shook and a deep rumble continued. The power was off, and for a brief moment it was quiet – then another series of shakes and that rumble and dogs barking, birds chirping, more tinkling sounds and I immediately thought of bottles and glasses and ornaments and books falling off shelves. The shaking stopped and this strange silence emerged, punctuated by dogs barking and people’s voices. We toured around the house by torchlight – no power, no water, nothing. After very briefly checking for damage, we headed back to bed, thinking that it would be safest to remain there until light. We’d packed everything ready to go camping at first light, so much of our usual emergency supply equipment was packed in the garage. We couldn’t open the garage because it’s electric, and the torch we had was a bit dim, but sufficient for that quick tiki tour.
Our neighbourhood watch was working extremely well – our next-door-neighbour hammered on the door to see if we were OK, and she and the rest of the neighbours were checking the older neighbours next door and across the road. I tried to text my daughter and my son – the cellphone system wasn’t working very well, but I got a couple of messages through. I grabbed my ipod – it was pretty funny to have Manly Jack and I both listening to the radio using one set of headphones! We kept updated via National Radio (hats off to them, fantastic work) until it started to get light. With no power, no internet (waaah!), no coffee (WAAAH!) and with no water, no sewage, and lots of texts from family members, it was a bit chaotic.
Our place sustained no damage, but TV, bookcase, computer and other heavier things had moved across the floor – I cannot believe nothing broken! It had been so hard to stand up during the quake I felt certain we’d have glass shards and things strewn across the kitchen, but although things had moved, nothing at all was broken.
We headed out at first light to see Manly Jack’s relatives – their place a real mess, the roading had subsided, water mains burst, house has sagged and various cracks throughout the place. Thankfully my family were fine, no harm, no damage. And on a beautiful day, sun shining and gorgeous weather, we started to examine the mess and do what we could to help.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha