I was at the gym when the earthquake hit, it was terrifying – the noise was like a huge train going past, the sprinkler system burst, glass doors and windows exploded, concrete support pillars cracked, TVs fell, heavy weights were tossed around like toys. I wasn’t concerned for my own safety as much as those around me who were panicking and distraught. I ended up crouched over one of the guys in my gym class, protecting him from any falling debris – he was huddled, cowering, trembling and I felt it was the least I could do to help him.
We were quickly evacuated and as I came down the front stairs, I could see dust rising from across the CBD – I knew it wasn’t good. I could hear a girl crying hysterically down in front of me, but I couldn’t reach her to comfort her.
For those of you outside of Christchurch, I’m sure you’ve seen all the TV coverage of the devastation – I saw just the tiniest of that first hand, as the gym is on Moorhouse Ave and away from many of the CBD buildings that were destroyed. I did however get the Moorhouse Ave/Colombo St overbridge closed as I could see cracks in one of the main supports and the road separating with each aftershock. I did see people being rescued from a building – alive and well. And I saw the full length of Moorhouse Ave full of silt and water from liquefaction. Luckily my new place is only 30mins walk from the CBD – so I walked home, with nothing but the clothes I wore to the gym. It wasn’t til I got home and saw on TV the extent of the damage, that I realised how bad it really was, and how lucky I was to come out unscathed.
The 7.1 quake in Sept was nothing compared with this. The city is in tatters and it’s going to take a very long time for the people of the city to recover from this. Many will never get over it. It’s so sad. And I feel completely useless sitting here doing nothing. I want desperately to help, but I’ll wait till I hear more and do what I can. But please, we here in Christchurch will need your help and support. Please do what you can – anything. Check the media for how you can help – donating money, and as we progress helping out in other ways.
So for now, I’m fine. My house is OK, I’m staying with friends as I have no water, but I’m going to head home at some stage because I can at least offer a spare bed and a roof for those who have nothing. Please turn your thoughts to other who have really suffered here – and please do what you can to help. There’s no point in calling/texting me – I have no idea when I’ll have access to my phone. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, try me on Facebook or tweet me on Twitter – I will have sporadic access to the internet and your messages of support will be appreciated.
I count myself incredibly lucky that I am safe and healthy. I just wish I could say the same for those who have perished, been injured or are still missing.
Kia Kaha Christchurch. I love you all.