It’s been an intense couple of days here in Christchurch. If you’ve had access to major news agencies like CNN or BBC, you’ll already be aware that my beautiful city suffered an earthquake at 4.35am on Saturday morning, 4 September 2010.
The quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and was only 10km deep, making it the most destructive earthquake in New Zealand since the 7.8 quake that devastated Hawkes Bay back in 1938.
Unbelievably, there has been not a single loss of life. This has been put down to the timing of the earthquake, when very few people were in the city centre where most of the damage occurred. Most of us were in our beds, sleeping peacefully, only to have our slumber completely shattered by our houses twisting and turning under our feet and objects falling onto us in our beds. It was, without a doubt, the single most terrifying event in my life.
So many people have escaped injury, even as their houses have crumbled around them. We were lucky in that our cement block house remained completely intact and structurally sound, despite cupboards flinging themselves open, books falling off shelves and cabinets toppling over. As we woke up to the devastation to friends’ houses and beautiful historic buildings of our city, we became so very aware of how lucky we were and how grateful to still be here to talk about it.
Aftershocks are still rocking the city every hour or so and each one brings down more parts of already damaged buildings. But as a whole, our city is SO VERY LUCKY. It could have been so much worse if the earthquake had occurred even a couple of hours later. I write this post mainly to let people know I am ok, my family is ok and our businesses continue to run. For Search Engine College, it’s business as usual, although students may experience delays in assignment grading as Internet access appears to still be sketchy. Blog posts here will resume shortly also.
A very big thank you to those of you who have emailed or tweeted me messages of concern. I’m so touched, particularly by those complete strangers who have been long term readers of my blog and just wanted to reach out and let me know they were thinking of me – I really appreciate it.
I have been tweeting about the quake since 20 minutes after it happened and I’m not alone. With no power, water or radio, Twitter was our lifeline to the outside world after the quake. To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the disaster was the use of social media. I’ve been collecting the first 3 tweets from people after the quake and they’ll be the subject of a future blog post. What were your first 3 tweets after the quake? If you want to contribute, please @reply me links to them at @kalena with #firstthreetweets as your hashtag.
[UPDATE : Read the First Tweets After the Christchurch Earthquake]
Meanwhile, below are some earthquake resources that you might find interesting:
Christchurch Earthquake Resources
GeoNet Earthquake info:
- http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/3366146g.html (detail about the big one)
- The Press Earthquake Story Map
- In the Aftermath of the Earthquake by @kcolbin
- Journal of an Earthquake by @benkepes
- A Family Diary – Surviving the Christchurch Earthquake by @mrsgooding
How You Can Help:
- Buy This Quake Tshirt. $5 from every sale goes to the Canterbury Red Cross Earthquake Appeal
- Donate $5 to Christchurch City Mission’s Earthquake Appeal: http://bit.ly/asyfzX
- Other ways to donate: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/promotions/news/article.cfm?c_id=500848&objectid=10671104
Christchurch is my old home town and my family are still there. One thing that has struck me about this from a distance is it appears that the emergency people and related services have done a remarkable job and everything thing looks to be coming off very well from that side.
I was talking with my parents yesterday on Skype when there were 3 aftershocks. What was remarkable was just how much their house shook and also the look of absoulte terror on my mothers face when it happened.
Wow what a intense weekend people suffered in Christchurch but it could have been worse – no loss of life – a true blessing! Thank God for Twitter – been a life saving resource for communication to the outside world in your time of need. My thoughts are with the city and I hope the city can re-build its self to what it was prior to Earthquake.
Great too hear you are surviving and have avoided too much damage. Hope you have been able to get to sleep since the last post?
I was awoken by the original shock here in Wellington – it rattled my bookcase and the dog got up to bark at it, otherwise it didn’t seem much to be concerned about and I went back to sleep. Later I wondered about the size of the quake and couldn’t find my geonet bookmark, so Googled “New Zealand earthquake”.
The number one result was from the Daily Telegraph, UK, with reports of destruction and looting in Christchurch. It was so unlikely I took it to be some kind of simulation or exercise. When I investigated some of the early morning pictures attached to the article I realised the truth.
My Facebook and Twitter streams carried links to Flickr and so I became aware like most of us through social media.
This morning I woke up for no special reason at 3.30, and have found my way to your blog (link on my iGoogle homepage)and thence to the Geonet site. Turns out there was a major aftershock about that time, reported to have been felt in Wellington. Could be that’s why I’m awake and writing this.
I was in Christchurch for a week just a week ago, having some serious but successful neurosurgery and managed to sneak out several times to walk around the city and enjoy some more imaginative food; could be the last time I would have seen some of those building facades along the strip between the Hospital and Wagamama – along Oxford Terrace.
Of course, now we wish we’d spent more time looking around, but business needed attending to…
Once again, best wishes for a speedy recovery and a decent night’s sleep. Or three. We never know what’s around the corner and it’s too easy to get locked into you own little world and miss the important stuff, health, family and friends.
Glad to hear your OK, what a terrifying experience to have to go through, we have seen some news reports in the UK and are also amazed at the devastation, and no loss of life, Thank God!
Very interesting your comments about Social media and Twitter being one of your lifelines to the outside world, with a terrifying experience such as this personally I think still being able to communicate when other forms of communication were not available is very important and crucial, especially with a lot of the people that think social media/Twitter is not important and evil.
This has made me rethink about starting a Twitter account, as I have been too lazy, but you have given me inspiration.
Thank you and stay safe. LT.