Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My City of Ruins - Christchurch earthquake 22.02.2011

 Just a couple of scenes from the devastating 6.3 magnitude aftershock yesterday - so shallow that it caused major damage and deaths that the original 7.1 quake did not. How cruel that this shock should come 5 1/2 months later, just as the city was getting back on its feet.

Christchurch is not my home town, but I lived there for 5 years as a child, and started school there at Halswell Primary, which was quite badly damaged in the original quake.  I've also lived just outside the city boundaries for 6 of the past 8 years, firstly in Lyttelton (close to the epicentre of this shock, and Christchurch's port) and later in Rangiora, about 25km north-west.

What was most distressing for me about yesterday's quake was the text I received from my daughter Sophie telling me that a big quake had struck and that she was stuck in her building.  As she works on the 15th floor of a highrise in the centre of the city, I spent a tense few hours waiting to hear about her safety.  Communication via text was patchy.  Fortunately, she and workmates were rescued from the 10th floor by the fire brigade, as stairwells below this level had collapsed.  They were drenched by fire hoses but unhurt. 

Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky.  The death toll this morning stands at 38 identified bodies, but it could be as high as 300.  People are still trapped in collapsed buildings.

Julie Rose, who took over the Pike River Quilt Project after I left the district, has suggested that surplus quilts be distributed to earthquake victims who have lost their homes and belongings.  I have agreed with her plan.  I hope those who have contributed blocks or quilts will be happy with this.  I feel it is appropriate.

24 comments:

loulee said...

So glad that you and your daughter are safe. It was a shock to wake up to the news this morning.

Gerrie said...

How scary. Having been through the big earthquake in N. Cal. back in the 80s, I am really identifying with your angst. My husband was in Japan and all 3 kids were away at college. It took me awhile to make contact with everyone.

So glad that Sophie is safe.

Fran├žoise said...

I'm glad to hear you and your daughter are safe. So sad to see the pictures and to know that so many people lost their lives.

Carol said...

So pleased to hear your daughter is safe Shirley.

Julie said...

That's a great idea for any excess quilts Shirley. As I've said elsewhere I'm glad your daughter is safe.

ms lottie said...

Glad to hear your daughter made it out safely. Terrifying to watch the news. I wholeheartedly agree with your plan for the excess quilts.

Ali Honey said...

I'm glad to hear your daughter and her friends got out. Being trapped through after shocks must have been horrific.
That would be a very appropriate use of the excess quilts.

We feel very useless up here unable to help in any practical way, but that may becaome clearer as to what is needed over coming days.

Janet said...

I'm very glad to hear you and your daughter are ok!

Cathy said...

Oh Dear Shirley!!! Thank the LORD for protecting your daughter! My heart feels so filled with sadness for these people that have and are suffering! Please know that the world is praying for your precious homeland citizens!

Diane said...

I'm so glad to hear that you and your daughter are safe. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone touched by this horrific tragedy. God bless and keep you all.

Atlanta Roofing said...

One of the most non violent societies on the planet, very few guns, lots of good will towards each other, crime rate very very low...for this to happen to them is totally heartbreak­ing. Good thoughts, love and healing energy to Kiwis. Wishing you peace, comfort and strength to see you through this difficult time.

Jack said...

I had the great pleasure of visiting Christchurch about 4 years ago. One of the highlights was being given a tour of the workshops at the Wool Guild, where I purchased a sweater. I am wondering if the Guild building suffered a lot of damage and if anyone was injured, yesterday.

Marls said...

So glad your daughter is safe.
It is all so devastating and quite unbelievable. My love goes out to all Cantabrians.

Doespins said...

Thank goodness your daughter is okay.
A woman I work next door to was waiting for news of her son all day.
It must have been an anxious time for you.
We were in that part of the city 3 weeks ago. The news and interviews are very harrowing.

Jan Quigley said...

I checked your blog yesterday because I knew you were somewhere in that area. I'd remembered you were moving & I was very relieved when I read "Invercargill' for your location. I'm so glad to hear your dd is safe. We watched the firemen rescuing people from buildings where the stairs had collapsed. Hugs!!!!!

Jean said...

Wonderful news that Sophie and her workmates are safe. I am sure everyone who contributed in any way to the quilts, would be very happy for any surplus quilts to go to Christchurch, with love,care and hope.I certainly am, and send caring thoughts to those who wait,who have lost,and those who are safe.

Shirley said...

Jack, the Arts Centre where the wool shop is located was damaged (or rather the tower above it was) in September so I believe it has been closed. However, I haven't been there since the first quake so cannot confirm that.

Miet said...

I'm so glad you and your family are safe and well ! I was terrified seeing the pictures on the TV-news and the newspaper . Isn't Rangiora in the area of Christchurch ?
big hug from Belgium !!!

Shirley Goodwin said...

Miet, Rangiora is about 25km north-west of Christchurch, but fortunately, not in the direct path of a faultline so the shaking has been less, and only very minor damage.

Rochelle said...

Oh Shirley - I have been thinking of you and your family ever since. My computer has died but I have finally worked out how to get on with my phone.
I am so glad and relieved that you and your family are safe and well but my heart cries for you. This is just devastating.
Having lived through the Newcastle earthquake some 20 years ago, I can certainly empathize with the emotions you are experiencing. Unfortunately this event is so much worse and although I have lived through a destructive quake I just can't begin to imagine what it must be like for you there.
Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your fellow countrymen and I'm sure that if you are up to it, we can send many more healing hearts your way.
Take care Shirley and don't forget to take a little time out for you.
Kind regards xxx

Anita A said...

Hello Shirley, like everyone around the world I followed the terrible news. It was not nice to see, but for the people in Christchurch it must be very frightful and scary.
You can give the quilts to anyone who needs them, that is why the quilts were made for !!
I am glad, your Sofie is save.

Jo in TAS said...

I'm more than happy for my blocks to be used for whoever needs them. Let us know if more are needed!
Hugs to you, your family and friends
Jo

Verina Thirlwell said...

Hi Shirley, Glad you daughter is safe. We escaped unscathed but very shaken. I was going to suggest any surplus blocks or quilts be used in this way. I'll quilt if needs be:)

Stell said...

so sad, you will be ecstatic that your daughter is now safe. The new study will be full on ... and will keep you busy, but I hope you have time to catch up with chch friends as you need to.