Apparently some of the coverage of the earthquake has been a bit sensationalist overseas. I can understand why when they see the worst of the damage. I didn’t know what to expect when I did my walk around the city early yesterday morning. I don’t know what I was expecting, but was shocked when I saw the extent of the damage to some of the buildings. I walked around the streets with my partner (he was there to make sure I didn’t get into any trouble!). We were both stunned at how random the damage was. It didn’t take long to see that the worst of the damage was not so random – it was old brick buildings that bore the brunt. I was very anxious to see if New Regent street had been affected – it is one of the cutest streets in Christchurch and I love it. So I was most relieved to discover it intact. I have no idea what the inside of the buildings are like, but the facades are fine – I didn’t even seen any cracks.
As we walked down New Regent we wondered what on earth the people in the hotel (bottom left of picture) must have been thinking – after all there was a giant crane right next to them!
I drove down Ferry Road today and it was an interesting contrast in what was fine and what was a mess. The building below has been marked a ‘no go’ area. Yet just 100 feet down the road people are sitting in the cafe having lunch.
One of my other favourite buildings is the Cathedral on Barbadoes Street – it seems fine (not sure about inside), but not even a hint of any cracks.
I had coffee with some friends today and swapped notes on our earthquake experiences. One of them lives on the West of Christchurch (the quake was centered 30 k west of Christchurch) and she said that if they hadn’t gotten out of bed they would have been thrown out of it such was the force they experienced – and she could barely make it down the hallway to collect her 5 year old (who bless him was still fast asleep!). Another friend lives in a central city apartment (sixth floor) and had quite an adventure – lots of swaying, lights out, and sprinkler system on. She made her way out to the street in her pj’s to find a mix of sleepy inner city residents in their night attire and very confused and inebriated party goers wondering what the beep had just happened. She’s now homeless for the week due to the flooding of her apartment. I live on the hill in the east of the city, and we are on rock. Some friends were frightened for me, as we are perched on the hillside (kind of precariously), but we had no damage, and hardly any thing fell down of the shelves – we even stayed in bed during the quake going ‘gosh this is a long one – maybe a six on the Richter scale). Yet just a few kms away, people’s houses are being condemned due to the bad structural damage they have sustained (a lot of Christchurch was swamp or reclaimed land – and those areas have been more affected). Many people have had their chimneys fall in through the roof with bricks lying on the living room.
So I have been very lucky and in my area (Mt Pleasant) you wouldn’t even know we have had an earthquake. Even the Ferrymead bridge which is about to be strengthened (cos they said it can’t withstand a big quake!) appears to be fine and is still operating as it should.
One thing about us Kiwi’s is it takes a lot to lose our sense of humour – need proof? Check out the Alvarados website (an ex central city restaurant as of Saturday morning).
We are getting lots of aftershocks – sometimes you can hear a roar before the jolt, sometimes you just get the jolt. The aftershocks are around 4 on the Richter scale. Needless to say we are getting just a bit sick of them. Though many think there is going to be another big one – at least a six.
It hasn’t really sunk in for me just the extent of the damage, and how it is going to impact on Christchurch. One thing’s for sure… the building industry will not be out of work for many years to come. The central city is a no go zone, so it could be days before I can go in for a look and see the full extent of what is no longer standing. Very strong winds and rain were expected for today, but it’s nearly 5pm as I write this and we have no wind and some sunshine with some clouds. If we are lucky, it might just pass us (and I think quite frankly Christchurch could do with a break in the weather right now).