Tuesday – Day 4

8 Sep

After work Cr Yani Johanson and I visited Avonside homes impacted by the quake.  Real bad.  Spectacular craters in the road continue to grow with tremors.  Drains and pump stations squeezed out of the earth.  Cracks coarse along verges and across roads.  Water and silt everywhere.  Still no water supply on in some streets.  It is portaloos and water containers for residents of those streets.

The Council housing in Bowie Place was particularly badly affected.  Shunted around and broken flats, with folk hanging in there.  One block of units had been cleanly shunted sideways 30cm.  Other  blocks had ominous bows in their roofs.  Brand new paving destroyed.

They saw their first Council official today.  Most of the residents are elderly, with others suffering severe life disadvantages.  In one unit the resident appeared to be a squatter; lying on a threadbare couch, wrapped in a ragged blanket and studiously examining soiled wads of newsprint.  In their plight it was clear what an important function our city’s social housing serves.

Yani came away with a long list of requests for Council.  Security promised for closed off areas has never arrived.  Residents’ cars parked on the zone perimeter and abandoned homes are vulnerable.  Sightseers are at risk from the shifting and sometimes invisible holes.  Residents told of two soldiers who sat down on a park bench for lunch, only to disappear into a crater that opened up under their weight.

But despite how bad it still looks at day 4, there was kudos from residents for how much has been achieved in the clean-up to date.  We dropped in on Bruce Calkin, who was on the Shirley Intermediate School Board of Trustees with me a few years ago.  He pointed out that Orion have straightened the power poles and reconnected power to all the homes in the area.  The army and contractors have shifted much of the enormous amount of silt that burst up from underground.

Lovely to get back to my own home, only a few hundred metres away and completely unaffected by damage.  So fortunate to find I don’t live in a liquefaction zone.

Feeling for Yani who went off to the Linwood Welfare Centre at 11pm to do an 8 hour shift.  Legendary.

Time for bed after a big day.  Working Wednesday  …Darn another tremor, the first for hours, just barrelled through.  It’s so quiet at 1am that I could hear it coming from way off.  Hope we can all get some sleep tonight.

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