Earthquake report


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February 24th 2011
Published: February 24th 2011
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Earthquake report. Written 24 Feb. 11 Thursday
Hello dear family and friends
I know you will have been waiting for more news from me since the earthquake struck Christchurch on Tuesday ..but as you will understand in the chaos there has been major disruption to all communications. We did have some mobile phone access we thought and tried to send quick messages to some of you to say we were okay. We then found later next day that some of those messages didn’t go through . But in any case the mobile phones have been a lifeline. It was the one day I actually did not have my phones with me …Marilyn ( my cousin) and Terry had just arrived in Christchurch on Monday afternoon…I picked them up and they were staying with me at Diane and Dave…thankfully we were all together.
So Tuesday morning as we had brekki we felt a small earthquake tremor and Dave said “ did the earth move”… we laughed!!!! I got on line and found out it had been a 3.1 – so at that point in time I was feeling quite ok that I had felt a quake.
So the 3 of us went off in to car to the city and found a nice parking space beside the Botanic Gardens… Marilyn’s fotos tell the story ( will put them on later)– I already have lots of fotos of Christchurch so I didn’t take any…so we wandered down past the art centre , she was taking fotos of the statues, the tram, over the bridge , the double decker bus, Captain Scott’s statue – into the Cathedral square there are fotos of the cathedral with Terry and I standing outside , the floral displays of deer and an elephant and the Christchurch Chalice.
So into the cathedral we went and Marilyn continued to take fotos inside …beautiful ceiling and wood in the Maori chapel, tiles panels, flags, stained glass … we marvelled that the Sept 4 earthquake hadn’t done too much damage there and then out we went through the visitors shop – this was actually about 5 mins before the Quake hit . We spotted a postshop in the adjacent road and I had Lisa’s and Liam’s birthday cards to post as well as a couple of postcards – so off we went and got some stamps and popped them in the post box outside. Marilyn had said she wanted to get some leggings so I said lets pop in the Farmers Dept store over the road. In we went never suspecting what would happen in the next 2 minutes…we had looked at some things and were just moving out and were in a wider aisle when there was this terrible rumbling noise and then floor was moving and I was saying get down and in any case we couldn’t actually stand up we were hanging on to each other and came down to the floor. I will never forget Terry’s face at that time – total disbelief. Lights were out and everything was crashing around us in the store- but nothing hit us. The floor tiles were flipping up…terrifying and horrible. When the movement stopped – we think it went on for about a minute- we just said we had to get out of the store and staff were telling people to get out- we were very near the exit. We came out and all I could see at first was clouds of dust and smoke – it was like a scene from 9/11 – that’s when I think I realised how bad it must have been …we were all trying to get into the middle of the street away from the buildings- there was a weird sort of eerie silence but at the same time there was crashing of glass - everyone was stunned but there was calm and no panic. Across the road where we had just posted the cards the fronts of the building had come down ( so I doubt if Lisa and the others will ever get their cards). We then thought it would be best to get into an open space and headed back a few metres to the cathedral square and to our horror saw that the cathedral that we had been in about 5 mins before was destroyed. My first fotos taken of the destruction are taken at 12.56 – 5 mins after the quake. We were so shocked but also realised that we had been so lucky and now we had to find a way to stay safe. Thank goodness that Marilyn and Terry were with me. There was a second bad shockwave a few mins later while when were in the Cathedral square and more glass windows came crashing down nearby- a very nice woman came and talked to us to ask if we were ok as Marilyn was in such shock she couldn’t stop shaking…this lady told us there would be more aftershocks and suggested we walk to the nearby Victoria Park – as it was a better open space with trees ..so we kept to the centre of the road with everyone else and went into the park. Along the road we could see car demolished buried under the rubble- huge cracks in the road with places where the tarmac was lifted up- then also we could see the liquefaction process happening – this is where the earth has being liquefied and water forced up with it and it comes up through cracks like bubbling volcanoes and piles up all over the place.
We spent about 3 hours in the park with lots of other people – sirens going around us, the river going by was swirling fast with muddy water and the level was raised right up– there was liquefaction everywhere bubbling up… the statue of Capt Cook stood firm however watching over us and it seemed rather incongruous to see pretty paper lanterns hanging in the trees by the river. But there is always some “black” humour in these situations … and By this time Marilyn and I were dying to go the the loo and another lady we spoke to ( everyone was so helpful and kind) said we would have to turn the trees into toilets soon. So we had to find a sheltered spot between a very cracked pillar of the bridge and a flower bed and tree. Of course there had to be another aftershock at this moment and as Marilyn held up my jacket in front of me the ground was shaking I was peeing and she was saying for gods sake cant you pee a bit quicker… it made us laugh in the midst of all the horror that we girls had to do what we had to do.
After all this time some people were starting to begin to walk to get away from the city centre – so we consulted a police officer and he told us a rouet to begin walking to keep away from the worst of the devastation…(and at this point we hadn’t been able to contact Diane and Dave because stupidly I had left my phones at their place and of course M and T didnt have their numbers in their phones) – it would have taken us several hours to walk back – but then as we walked past where the car was we found that road quite clear and the car untouched – so more consulting a police officer and he told us how to drive back. It was a very slow drive back with many other people making their way from the city centre to the suburbs….and as.Terry drove he had to watch out for huge cracks, massive potholes and this bubbling mud stuff everywhere….and of course as we approached bridges and overpasses I was saying don’t drive onto or under until we could exit …. So we finally made it back to Cashmere where Diane and Dave live – and of course they were so relieved we were ok as they had been trying to call me but I didn’t have the phones!!!! And we were relieved that their house was still standing and that Dave and Diane were ok cos she had been at work in her library at Sumner which was near the epicentre. Many of the neighbours houses were shattered and so they all congregated at Dave’s – and he is such a great guy who is a real Mr Fixit – and he came up trumps in this situation with a generator so we could watch TV and know what had been going on, we had water , we had the bbq to cook food – and all the neighbours brought their food contributions so we got it all put together…as it got dark we lit lamps, got out torches. One 80 yr old was persuaded to stay with us and out came a spare mattress. And so we spent our long night with many many aftershocks, lying in bed with all our clothes on, torches and phones in pockets ready to get out if necessary…we seemed to get the shocks about every 10 mins or so – some of them very loud noises and the whole house shaking…and you could feel the waves coming and going as I hung onto the bedhead. I can tell you there was a lot of expletives being uttered – never used the “F” word so much!!!! Probably after about 3am we got a bit of sleep as the shocks seemed to die down a bit.
So as we got up in the morning we had to make a decision as hard as it was to leave eevryone – and Dave had arranged for us to borrow his car fortunately as we would never had been able to rent one. And as there was no water or electric supplies or waste water ( Dave came up trumps again with a portaloo) we also realised that we were just another burden on the stretched resources. So we had a change of plan as to direction to drive and go directly south as it might be easier to find accommodation and diesel for the car too. So off we went and almost out of fuel at last we got to a garage that was open and had to queue for quite a while but did get filled up – but I must say the garage people were so well organised making pople queue and directing them to pumps and getting them thru as quick as poss.
I think the first couple of little towns we went through all the motels had No Vacancy signs up – so I was a bit worried – and looked in my tourist guide book found a campsite which had cabins –at a little town called Geraldine which is a bit more inland and on the way to Wanaka which was to be our final destination anyway….and thankfully when I called them they were very helpful and found us a little studio unit for the 3 of us. So at last we could have a shower, change our clothes, flush the loo, boil a kettle, fill a glass of water …all things we normally take for granted. There were still come aftershocks being felt there 100km from Christchurch– but these were more like small tremors . But we ate a good steak diner with a bottle of bubbly and slept like babies and felt more like normal after a good night sleep.
And so to today – the sun shone and we drove here to Wanaka having booked another cabin …we had a lovely day – with a picnic at the foot of Mount Cook…however this all seems rather unreal to be acting rather normally when we almost died 2 days ago.
We cannot believe how lucky we were when we see that already the death toll is 98 and 22 still missing in cathedral and many more missing – probably dead. That we were in the cathedral only about 5 mins before the quake and also standing on the pavement at the post box – a few minutes earlier and we could now be killed…such is life – the randomness is astonishing and hard to believe. We heard 2 of the dead announced today are babies… It is also so sad and terrible for all the people of Christchurch who have to re-build their shattered lives and right now live in the most appalling conditions….added to which is the constant threat of further aftershocks – even today there have been several more than 4 on the Richter scale…they must be so shattered – it is almost impossible to sleep when every so often there is an aftershock….and the unpredictability is so wearing and we were only there a day.
Well this has been both so emotional and cathartic to write – and will act as a record for myself – but right now I can’t write any more and I don’t feel I can post fotos….but I will do later .
I suppose everyone is seeing the scenes on tv –it really is terrible destruction of the whole city and I would just say if you feel you can make a donation to help the people of Christchurch please do and I am sure there is some way of doing it.
Here we are safe in Wanaka and thankful to be alive.
Sending you all much love.
Lynne and Marilyn and Terry. xxx


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24th February 2011

Bloody hell
Oh Lynne - it is so GOOD to hear from you... You have been on my mind as you can well imagine... I have been hoping that you were NOT in Christchurch.... words are beyond me... and yes how lucky can you be..... you number was NOT up was it.... lots of love to you....
24th February 2011

Hi Lynne, so pleased to hear that you are safe, after a very narrow and frightening escape. I imagine you are still shaking from the experience, and will be in a state of shock for some time to come. Thanks for letting us all know you are OK, and now out of the danger zone. Take care, love Karen x
24th February 2011

thankful
Dear Lynne, what a harrowing time you have all had. As soon as I heard the awful news on the radio I thought of you. I immediately tried to text you but I don't know if you still have the same number or if you ever got the text. I was SO relieved when I went on FB and saw that someone had posted that they had heard from you. The scenes on the TV are dreadful and very upsetting so goodness knows how you have coped with being in the thick of it. I think Michael was watching over you that day. Do take care of yourself and try to enjoy the rest of your holiday. I look forward to seeing you when you get back and hearing all about your adventures. Love Judyxxxx
24th February 2011

earthquake
dearest lynne and friends and family i am thanking God that you are safe and praying for all the people who are still trapped or who have lost loved ones and who are injured Your escape is a miracle Lynne - please take it easy - you have had a terrible experience and seen things that we hope we will never have to witness Bless you Lynne and come home safe soon lots of special love and a massive hug Lynnexxx
24th February 2011

christchurch
Lynne, thank goodness you are safe and well. It must have been the most awful experience, and Poor Marilyn and Terry must also be very shaken. My love to you all, and I can only hope that you are able to enjoy the rest of your time together. take great care.
24th February 2011

So pleased you are OK
Hello Lynne, so pleased to read that you and your travelling companions are OK. You were the first person we thought of when the news of the quake broke and we went into your last blog to check where you were last located, it was The Alps, so I thought, OK, no probs for Lynne!! How wrong was I!!! We cannot believe what we have just read above, it must have been terryfying for all of you. Lynne, we think someone was looking after you. I know I haven't left any comments on your previous blogs but I can assure you we are reading them with interest. NZ looks a fantastic place and you have clearly been having a great time. God bless, Bruce and Lorri
24th February 2011

Thank goodness
We are so happy that things are relatively OK for you. I did wonder about you when we saw the news but had no idea how close you were to it all. Lots to reflect upon in the quieter moments.
24th February 2011

Thank goodness you're ok
Hi Lynne I have been thinking if you constantly for the last couple of days. I had a vision of you climbing up the carthedral tower. A little bit errie really as I was not sure if you were anywhere near Christchurch. I have just phoned Maureen and she has rushed to read your blog. We are so very please to hear that you and your friends are safe. It is such a dreadful tragedy. I keep hoping that more peole will be found alive. Well sweetie, I hate to say it but you used up one of your lives there! I am going to open an bottle of champayne and celebrate! Lots of love from Susan xxx
24th February 2011

Glad to hear you are all safe.
Thanks for the text & info Lynne. So glad you are all OK. Feel so sad for those who have lost family & friends & so many still missing. Everyone on mW sends their love--many concerned about you. Lots of love Pauline
24th February 2011

so thankful
Lynne, it was a relief to see your blog. What an awful experience for you all. Thankfully you and your friends managed to keep safe. try to enjoy the rest of your stay and keep us updated on your travels. very fond wishes fiona xx
24th February 2011

Thank goodness you are safe!
Oh, Lynne! What an experience! Susan and I had been worrying about you, knowing you were somewhere in the area. We didn't have any idea of how close a call you actually had! I text messaged you yesterday (Wednesday) but had no response........rather worrying.........so didn't know what else to do. I am so glad you are safe! It is a dreadful thing to have happened, and you were so close to it all.........saved by Marilyn's need to buy leggings, eh? Good thing you were all together, and able to support each other! Please stay safe! Hugs, Maureen.
24th February 2011

Your safe - that was a close call!
Brilliant reading your story, my goodness you were all so very lucky. Take care now and enjoy the rest of your trip. Von
24th February 2011

horrendous
Hi Lynne. To hear your account puts it all into perspective. Easy to look at the tv and feel detached from it all. So pleased you are all safe and sound, that's the main thing. Love Hils x
24th February 2011

Quake.
Dearest Lynne, What an ordeal, we were thinking of you and wondering whereabouts you were, never thinking you would actually be in Christ Church. I just heard from other friends of ours on the cruise around NZ and they just missed it by a day . We are so thankful that you are all o.k. Such terrible devastation. please take care of yourself and thank you for letting us know you are safe. Love & hugs Bev & Peter
24th February 2011

Lynn - so glad you're ok. Sounds horrific, and from what we can see it is an absolute tragedy. Keep safe xxx
24th February 2011

Earthquake
Thank God for your safety - our thoughts have been very much with you all - with much love, Jill xx
24th February 2011

Hi Lynne Just so relieved to hear you are all OK. Just puts the trivia of life in perspective. Much love Geraldine PS My cousin sent me a postcard of Geraldine when she visited NZ. Must visit it myself one day.
24th February 2011

hello Lynne
Dear Lynne, It is almost unbelievable to read your story...It is quite surreal. I am so glad that you are OK.Goodness, what a shock you must have had. We are t all thinking of you and sends lots of love, Suzanne
24th February 2011

Thank goodness you are safe and well, we were very grateful to get your text message saying you were okay!! Did you get the text message I sent with your AA membership number that you requested? I'm glad that you are now somewhere safer but will continue to keep the people of Christchurch in my prayers, will say a few for you too that trouble is now behind you and you can continue with your travels. Obviously this will be tinged with a little sadness at the thought of the friends you left behind but Dave sounds like quite a lad and I'm sure everyone will be okay with him looking after them all. Take care Lyn, sending much love Alison xxx
24th February 2011

No need to post photos, images all over the news, can see the devastation. Post pictures of Wanaka instead. Lots of love xxx
24th February 2011

So glad to hear you're ok
Hi Lynne, We've been thinking of you since the earthquake (or at least since we found out my Christchurch niece and brother are safe). I wasn't sure where you were in your travels but when there had been no blog posts since Tuesday we were starting to get concerned. In fact I had gone to the computer to look for your cellphone number so I could text when I saw today's post. What an experience for you! And what a miracle that you all came through unscathed. I feel almost guilty that your wonderful New Zealand holiday turned into such a nightmare, but thank God that you are safe. I hope the experience doesn't put a dampener on the rest of your time here - but obviously an experience like that will resonate for a long time. If you need to change your travel plans at all we'll be happy to help in any way we can. Keep safe! Jackie and Goff.
24th February 2011

Lucky to be alive!
Hi Lynne Thank you so much for battling through the emotions to write that blog! It will become part of the historical record of our life journey in New Zealand. It has been an horrendous few days!! The stories of people we know and people we don't are amazing. Our family are all safe though two cousins have totally lost their homes. Overnight they have evacuated much of Redcliffs where I once lived during my teacher training days. The cliff is breaking away in the aftershocks. You did all the right things Lynne (never mind the phone bit....the messages were on jet lag anyway) People like Dave are such a blessing!! To all you others.......don't give up on coming to New Zealand. We will need you more than ever to keep the economy ticking along. Everyone is pulling out the stops to get Christchurch repaired and back to some sort of working order. Much love Jocelyn
24th February 2011

Lynne, I don't know what to say; we are following the news and hearing such amazing and then such terrible stories. Thank you for writing it all down so that we can know what you went through. You are welcome to come back here at any time - and any of your Christchurch friends could come to stay. Sending lots of love, Patricia
24th February 2011

Tears of Joy
Another huge relief for us to hear you are OK. Just a dreadful thing. We are down to take Auckland bound Canabrians at our house so are waiting to hear. Anything we can do to help is the priority right now. Stay safe. Clarexxx
24th February 2011

So relieved to hear that a member of the Travelblog community has survived from the middle of this disaster, though you are obviously and understandably shaken. It's after terrible moments such as these that you have a renewed appreciation of life - the sun seems brighter, the food seems tastier, and the embrace of friends and family seem warmer. Thanks for sharing your story, my thoughts and wishes are with you.
25th February 2011

Glad you are all safe.
Gosh Lynne, what an amazing thing to happen to you. Someone is surely watching over you, keeping you safe in the middle of such amazing devestation. I am pleased you are safe and sound. Boy, you will have the travel story of a lifetime to relate forever and a day. Much love - take care (seems a bit redundant really) Jan
25th February 2011

All the footage on TV could never give us a true appreciation of what you went through - so glad you are safe.
25th February 2011

Some one up there likes you
Hi Lynne , Thank you for your blog on the earthquake, I knew you were heading that way , so I felt quite concerned about you, and what a miraculous time you had in the cathedral. Take care. Wilma.
25th February 2011

relieved that you are safe
dear Lynne. I was so relieved to read your post - I had been hoping that you weren't in Christchurch at the time of the quake (sounds selfish to say that when one thinks of all those who were there - but hen again, we must care for those dear to us) your account was amazing to read - as you say, life can be so random. just wanted to say I'm glad you're OK. Love, Jennifer
26th February 2011

OMG
Don't know what to say, just so glad you're safe but so sorry for others who weren't. Have just got back from a catastrophic little trip to France, stolen purse, missed connections, hassle and stress non stop, but your story has put it all into perspective. SO glad you're OK but take it easy, the shock will obviously have such an effect on you. Sue xxxx
26th February 2011

OMG
Don't know what to say, just so glad you're safe but so sorry for others who weren't. Have just got back from a catastrophic little trip to France, stolen purse, missed connections, hassle and stress non stop, but your story has put it all into perspective. SO glad you're OK but take it easy, the shock will obviously have such an effect on you. Sue xxxx

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