28 February 2011
Six days now since the earthquake. And we are nearly six months since the first earthquake in September. There have been over 5,000 aftershocks, 148 confirmed dead, 200-plus missing.
Yesterday, the CEO of my company called me to see if there was anything they could do to help out. That was really nice. We’ve had lots of friends offer to help out in any way they can. Tomorrow we will take one up by going to their house to do laundry and take showers. Yesterday we went to a potential rental property. It is being rented by the parents of Vicki, friend from the Plunket group, who moved back to the UK after the September quake. Now her parents are leaving and need a renter. We said we would take it. They will be out in a few weeks. That’s a big relief for us to have a place to rent so quickly after the quake.
After looking at the rental property, we took a break from all this stress and drove to Hamner, a hot pools area a few hours north of Christchurch. That was a good thing to do.
Today, we signed up with the Red Cross since we lost our home. That allows us access to more government help should be need it. Today I visited our house again. This time to get more drinking water from our hot water cylinder and get some more clothes. Today we had 20 earthquakes, some quite strong, like a 4.3 and 4.1 this morning.
I heard an interview on the radio by an engineer in which they asked how you design for events like this. How do you build a cathedral to survive earthquakes like this? He said that buildings are typically built to survive a one-in-500-year event. This event was more like a one-in-2,500-year event. So, he said, really, you don’t design for these. The maximum ground shaking from the earthquake was 2.2 times gravity (2.2G). Our house is two miles from the epicenter.
So how do things look now here? Still mounds of liquefaction silt in the streets, most of it drying out now and smelling of sewage. Water bubbles up through manhole covers and random cracks in streets. Some of this smells strongly of sewage. Others not. It is obvious that sewer and water lines are heavily damaged. We still don’t have any portaloo on our street but I am sure they are coming. Food and fuel are easy to come by. Water continues to be a concern but we are on top of it.
We seem to all be doing OK. Charlie is definitely affected. Much more sensitive and cries more easily over small things. He wetted his bed a couple days ago. This was only the second time he has ever done this. He is not afraid of the earthquakes, though. I find waking in the morning the most difficult time, as that is when our situation all comes flooding back to me.
Tomorrow the nation is to have two minutes of silence to mark one week since the quake.
Click here to read Part 6.