Thursday, February 24, 2011

We are all safe in Christchurch after the earthquake

Finally I can get online and contact everyone. I am sure you have seen the news and the devastation that has hit Christchurch with the aftershock on Tuesday. Aftershock? Boy it was worse that the earthquake of September 4th 2010. I can describe it as if you are a cork in the middle of the ocean and getting thrown around. The house was like a tiny lilo that was rocking on an unstable ground. Everything was thrown to the ground and smashed, furniture was tipped up, pictures on the wall literally jumped of the walls. The gold fish were lucky to have any water left in their tank.

We were lucky, our house is still standing, we have had no power and water, but we have all our family alive and accounted for. There are still so many people missing. It is a very bizarre experience as I sit here using a mobile connection to contact you, some people are homeless, some are digging holes in the garden to use as toilets, others are queuing up for fresh water at the local schools. The entire central business district is closed down, we are waiting for a 26 storey hotel to fall down as it continues to slump in one corner.

We were just starting to get some sleep at nights, the anxiety had lessened and the dependence on a glass of wine to calm the nerves at night had decreased.  Now we are back to feeling uptight, the children won't go upstairs unless there is someone with them, their behaviour has changed. It was a very traumatic experience for the children, they were at school when it happened and were outside playing at lunch time. Alex was thrown to the ground and banged his head, Emily twisted her ankle and was very frightened. Now every time there is an aftershock, she grabs something solid and freezes on the spot. Alex dives under the table. Charlie the 17 month old is oblivious to the whole experience, and is a happy bouncy baby! In fact his antics keep us sane as he provides the light relief to make us smile in a situation that is dire for the city.

We have only just seen yesterday the devastation on TV as we had no power, so it was very distressing to see what has happened and it felt like you had been hit again as we just had an idea in our head after listening to the radio. It was much worse that we had expected.

The good thing is that they were already well into the planning to rebuild the city after the first earthquake, so it will now just be adding to what was already planned, and the addition of a huge amount of essential services like power, sewerage, water, gas and roading.
As I sit here, we have more after shocks. I better get back to cleaning up the mess, it has taken longer than I had imagined. I would just like to say thank you to all the people who have emailed me with their thoughts and prayers. We appreciate that and feel that someone was looking after us as we have now escaped two large disasters. I managed to receive some emails, I haven't been able to reply as I have intermittent internet access.

I would like to send my condolences to the families of all those who did not make it through this experience. We don't know who you are yet, and as we wait to hear, we cross our fingers that it is no one we know, but in a city as small as ours, I am sure we have lost friends, so for now, we are putting that out of our minds as it is out of our control. I would also like to thank all the countries who have sent experienced search and rescue crews to help us look for survivors. They have come from Australia, Japan, China, United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and Taiwan. (Sorry if I have missed anyone).

We will be back in contact when we have a better internet connection.

Lee, Chris, Emily, Alex and Charlie.
Amanda and the team at

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