Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christchurch earthquake on Tuesday 22nd February

Christchurch was hit by another large aftershock just before 1 pm on Tuesday. I was at work and at my desk. The others in my office were having a meeting with their manager in the office. When the sharp shock hit, I knew this was big. There was no forewarning as per the loud roar as in the last one in September just a sharp jerk followed by a violent shake. We all dived under our desks as books and files fell off shelves around us. I could hear students screaming in the library as books fell off the shelves in the library. The lights went out.  when the shaking stopped, we all evacuated to a view of  the fallen towers of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, the Catholic cathedral. It dawned immediately that this was a very big one. Eventually found out it was 6.4 but very shallow and centred 5km away near Lyttelton.

After evacuation, I located my son, who works in the marketing dept. at CPIT. He had been in the CPIT marketing car, on his way to the other CPIT campus. The car shook violently, he could see the road ripple in front of him and a shop near the car collapsed!! We milled around, viewing the damage to buildings all around the polytech. there were signs of liquefaction in the carpark, we could see the Grand Chancellor Hotel was on a lean and smoke and dust from the collapsed CTV building, about 100m up the street from the polytech.  I was really worried for friends who worked in the city (but yesterday, managed to contact them all and they are well but still shaken from the experience). We left in my son's car to try to get home just before 3pm, giving a colleague a lift as well. I had to leave my car as I had evacuated without keys, wallet or cell phone! Car still at polytech. Took us almost two hours to get home, a drive of 16 kms plus detour to drop colleague off, The roads will choked with traffic but also damaged. Cracks, holes, flooding and a grey sludge over many streets from the liquefaction. A scarry trip as we listened to the radio , featuring calls from people providing eye witness accounts from the city and the eastern suburbs.

At home, no damage to the north west suburbs in Chch. just the usual clean up of books etc. fallen off shelves. Electricity back just after 7.30pm and we could then follow the news on the TV. Only managed to get access to work email yesterday (Wednesday) evening and have been replying to concerned emails from relatives, friends and colleagues from overseas and other parts of NZ. News has not been good, with many people trapped in buildings and the central city in ruins with substantial damage to suburbs East and South of Hagley park. This event will take a long time to recover from. Infrastructure will be a challenge to bring back and this morning, 40% of city still have no electricity and 80% of city have no water. have emailed and will follow up with phone to friends, colleagues who I know have no water. We might be able to assist with providing showers and food etc. as required but the challenge will be getting things to them, or for them to travel to us, as travel into the damaged suburbs is not encouraged.

So priority will be to keep in touch with people. I suspect CPIT will be closed for next week as well as it is within the central city cordon and buildings all around it have either collapsed or are severely damaged. Meanwhile, I will have to work out a way to get access to my work drives so that I can work on various articles that are partway through.

1 comment:

Joe Ganci said...

From an eLearning professional in Washington, D.C. to you, an eLearning professional in Christchurch,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I'm glad you and those you know are OK. Considering how large the earthquake was, I'm grateful the human toll was not higher, though it is tragic. We are all hoping that life can return to normal for you soon.

-- Joe Ganci (