The big quake hit Christchurch 14 days ago. Seems like a life time.
The death toll so far is almost 200, but I know that at least 300 graves have been dug.
No survivors have been found since the day after the big shake. My friend and one time political colleague Jo Giles is still missing, presumed dead.
10,000 houses are expected to be leveled and the Eastern suburbs of Bexley, Dallington and Avonside rest on land so badly liquefied they may never be rebuilt.
The inner city has lost most of its heritage buildings and is still closed to the public – and may be for months.
At least 60,000 of Christchurch’s 400,000 people have left for other parts of New Zealand, or Australia. Many will not return. Whole suburbs in the Eastern part of the city are now ghost towns.
Most of Central and Eastern Christchurch is built on a swamp. Besides destroying countless buildings the quake liquefied thousands of acres, depositing subterranean silt and sand over tens of thousands of lawns, gardens, roads, playing fields and parks.
This video will give some idea of the effect.
On the positive side, the relief efforts have been effective and well managed, with lots of voluntary and international help.
Community spirit has been great, despite 2 major earthquakes, thousands of aftershocks and the Pike River coalmine disaster, and even the devastation of the recent Queensland floods that hit our Aussie cousins – all in the last 6 months.
An astrologer/ amateur scientist Ken ring has predicted an even bigger quake for around March 20. Considering he predicted the last 2 quakes, a lot of normally skeptical people are taking him seriously.
Schools are opening again and hundreds of businesses are running out of garages and private homes.
Petrol is easy to buy, even if the price is skyrocketing. The supermarkets are full of food.
Water, power and plumbing are being restored – though apparently Christchurch has exhausted the entire world supply of chemical toilets!
Life is slowly returning to normal, though there will be no closure until all the dead are recovered, named and buried.
We’re very grateful people here right now. Very, very mindful of the donations, help and kind wishes that have poured into our city from overseas.
Thank you all.
Christchurch will bounce back, better, brighter and even more beautiful than before.
Especially when we get to host some of the Rugby World Cup – fingers crossed.