Christchurch Earthquake Update
As many of you may be aware from the news media, my home city of Christchurch has been hit by a second major earthquake, following the one on September 4 last year. Although 7.1 in magnitude that earthquake resulted in no loss of life or major injury, although there was building and infrastructure damage. This time we have not been so lucky, as although 6.3 in magnitude this earthquake was both shallower and more closely centred to the city and has done far greater damage. Given its timing in the middle of a working day, it has also resulted in major loss of life with 75 officially declared dead and 300 missing.
My personal situation is that both I and my partner are alive and uninjured and all the friends and neighbours I have heard from are similarly placed. But I already know of many who have lost their homes and businesses, and infrastructure throughout the city is severely compromised.
Our living situation is that our house appears to be relatively ok, although it has sustained what I hope will prove to be minor/fixable structural damage. We have, however, sustained considerable damage to the section in the form of cracking and buckling of paved surfaces and widespread “liquefaction”, where water and sand flood up through the ground and settle as a black slick/sludge. The sludge may also contain sewage where pipes rupture—which I believe to have almost certainly been the case in Christchurch. Not surprisingly, at present we have neither sewer nor potable water and the power has only just come back on. Telephone services are also intermittent.
I and many like me across Chriscthurch are now in the position of having to dig the liquefaction out, both on our own properties and as much as possible in the surrounding streets, as well as tidy up damage within houses.
This is the first time I have been able to access the blog since the earthquake occurred at 1 pm approximately on Tuesday, but I hope that I will be in a position to post more updates from now on. But if not, I will post again as soon as the situation allows.