Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake 6.3

I had been out in the city to get my hair cut and returned to my desk at 12:45PM At 12 50PM the 6.3 earthquake struck. It was so violent. The 5 storey office building started to sway and twist. I dived beneath my desk. My computer fell off my desk, coffee went everywhere. Ceiling panels fell out, filing cabinets toppled over. When it finally stopped, I grabbed my keys and went for the emergency exits. Bits of the concrete structure had fallen into the stairwells. Outside there was broken glass everywhere.

On the pavement outside, there was an aftershock. The land was moving like it was alive. Four men carried a young girl to the hospital - she had a blue face so I fear the worse. People were crying, being hugged, desperately trying to contact loved ones on their mobile phones. We heard stories that office buildings had collapsed - later confirmed. We saw a dust cloud rise from parts of the city - it was either a fire or buildings collapsing.

After 15 minutes I left and started walking towards my car. The pavements are all buckled, kerb stones raised. The front of buildings had collapsed. You could hear sirens and car alarms. Water was coming up from the ground due to broken water mains. I crossed Mortimer Square and people were sat around supporting each other.

I eventually got to my car and drove to Jake's school. There is liquified sand and water on the road. The school chapel is missing part of its wall and roof. The bridge over the stream is all buckled. All the pupils are on the school field. I signed my son out and drove via the side streets to Harewood in search of some diesel - I didn't have enough have get home! I found a garage that was open and I fill up a happy man.

We are all home and our house is intact. Kirsty is on a school camp near to Akaroa but she is safe. What a day! The death toll is 65 souls and set to rise.