Someone must have called in the angels on Saturday morning. Our massive earthquake caused monumental amounts of damage to Christchurch and surrounding Canterbury, but not one life was lost.
The Haiti earthquake, exactly the same force at 7.1 on the Richter scale, killed 300,000 people. Thank goodness for our First World building standards and the incredibly fortuitous timing.
If the earthquake had occurred just five hours earlier, Manchester St, the site of large building collapses, would have been busy with Friday night revellers.
My own property escaped damage. The big worry for me was my Mum, stuck out in Kaiapoi with no way of communicating to the outside world. After waiting for news that the Waimakariri bridges were safe, I headed out. Numerous detours later, I arrived to find Kaiapoi really messed up. But Mum was fine, her street suffering just minor damage. She evacuated out to Christchurch, but was able to return to Kaiapoi today.
When I got back I visited all the neighbours here in Armagh St. In a sense, it was like Christmas Day. Everyone was in a very community-focussed mood, eager to share their stories and check that neighbours were okay. Our block seemed less bothered by aftershocks than most other areas, and everyone was pretty relaxed.
I was really impressed by the efforts of People’s Choice candidates in the Burwood-Pegasus ward who got out to elderly folk, delivering water from a local aquifer. Well done Tim Baker and Glenn Livingstone! In our own Hagley-Ferrymead ward, I know Councillor Yani Johanson has been very busy with post-earthquake duties.
Today was more like Boxing Day. Folk got out on the streets by car, bicycle and foot and explored the damage. Keen to avoid adding to road congestion, I grabbed the bike and cycled through Avonside, Linwood, Central City and St Albans, getting errands done and checking on friends.
I am thinking now of people out in Heathcote, Mt Pleasant, Redcliffs and Sumner. From what I have picked up from supporters and friends in those suburbs, apart from many toppled chimneys, folk seem to be doing all right out there.
This three-minute video is a summary of my explorations today.