Earthquake Day 3 (24 February)
Firstly , thank you all so much for your comments and support. I am reading all your texts (although these are still sometimes intermittent in their arrival) and emails and replying as much as I can, but there is so much to do here that I may not be able to reply to everyone all at once. But I should get there ‘in time’–and meanwhile, please be assured that all your thoughts and best wishes are very much appreciated.
In terms of what is happening ‘on the ground’, I realised this morning that I was not 100% simply because I found it very hard to multitask in terms of processing what needed to happen next—and that is definitely not usual for me. So it may have been a symptom of delayed shock, given the cumulation of events: the earthquake followed quickly by the liquefaction, then the constant aftershocks and not knowing what had happened to “your people”—but knowing that this quake, given both its violence and the time of day, had to be bad.
You all know just how bad, through the media, but at a personal level, the liquefaction—the mix of sand and water that gets forced out of the ground and then settles into a black sludge (‘warning: may contain sewage’)—is the biggest issue for us at this stage. I have spent the last two days digging out around this house, as well as the stormwater drains on the street, and the job is far from done. But I was fortunate today to have the help of four fantasic friends (one of them my cousin, but also very much a friend-in-need) and it really made a huge difference to what we got done. Basically we dug and shifted the liquefacted material for around seven hours—and will be out there and at it again tomorrow.
We are still without water and sewer, so today was also the day in which friends rallied around—my cousin brought water and a whole raft of essential supplies, as well as helping with the digging, and a SpecFicNZ friend, Wen Baragrey, and her family were running in water and other supplies from their (non-earthquaked) base in Rangiora: needless to say, although we had water enough for 3-4 days, as per the survival pack guide, these very generous deliveries really took the edge off the immediate water situation.
Friends from further afield, in both Auckland and Wellington, are also sending care packages that we hope will get through (the current priority is medical supplies)—and no small ‘care’ either, but very necessary items such as chemical toilets, antiseptic handwashes and ‘special’ food for the cat.
The cat, needless to say, has been very freaked by the whole business. He has not run away as so many cats did in September, but he has spent the majority of the last three days hiding in his “safe place”, which is the bottom of the wardrobe—right at the back where he is hard to see unless you know to really look.
And that’s us—here; hugely grateful for all the support we’re getting, but still with a whole lot of work yet to do. In terms of what tomorrow brings—this will pretty much be more digging, with hopes that the rain stays away.