Christchurch Cantebury Earthquake Aftermath – “Houses Broken In Half”

The residents of Canterbury spent an uneasy night as a string of earthquakes continued overnight and into the this morning. A list of the 30 most recent quakes may be found here

Estimates are that around 20% of people’s homes are now uninhabitable and in some areas on the flat 90% had been damaged by liquefaction. Civil Defence liquefaction maps, zoned for degree of risk, in the Christchurch area may be found here. Questions are bound to be asked soon as to why these areas were allowed to be built on.

Michelle Sutton writing for the NZPA in The Press said that

Severely damaged houses cover the city and surrounding areas, with Civil Defence describing the scene as ”like a bomb site”. Experts say some of the worst damage has been caused by liquefaction – when the strength and stiffness of soil is reduced by earthquake shaking or other rapid loading.

As many as nine out of 10 homes on the city’s flat had been damaged by liquefaction, although damage to timber-frame homes would be superficial rather than structural.

But it wasn’t just the older un-strengthened masonry buildings that suffered damage, some new developments were severely affected:

The city’s five-year-old Bexley subdivision (Ed. see Looters and Bulldozers on the streets of Christchurch) near New Brighton was devastated, with at least 100 new homes left uninhabitable, homeowner Malcolm Mehlhopt said.

”Most of the homes here have had it,” he said. His own home was ruined and he was unsure where he would stay the night.

Gaping holes and metre-wide and three metre deep cracks ran through the grounds of some homes and along nearby roads. The bridge across the estuary was closed and badly damaged, he said. ”All the houses have moved, they are on concrete piles and have been pushed up and down.”

The report goes on to talk about how insurance claims were already being lodged, saying that for one company:

Tower Insurance reported receiving nearly 100 claims yesterday, ranging from $20,000 to $300,000 for property damage, and dozens of homes had already been written off. Spokesman Andrew Parkinson said houses had broken in half due to liquefaction when the ground dropped.”

Initial estimates are that more than 500 buildings in Christchurch have been damaged, more than 90 of them are in the central city area. It it thought that the total repair bill will come to $2 billion.

A number of shelters were set-up for people overnight – around 50 people sought refuge at the  Addington Raceway, 109 at Burnside High School, and 85 at Linwood College.

Avonside drive and Dallington shop:

At 7.53 last night a resident told the Trademe community about how the aftershocks were affecting her

“Aftershocks making everyone uneasy. 30 recorded so far. The rumble that comes with them is the worst. And yes nighttime is making it seem worse. The supermarkets seem to be running out of lots of things its pretty crazy down here”

Quakes continued through the night. At 9.48 am the quakes were still causing distress to local people:

“Dam that was a big one. Just had another big after shock.Heard the bang then the shaking.Have to look at Geonet to see how big it was”

Another person posted photos from the New Brighton area


One thought on “Christchurch Cantebury Earthquake Aftermath – “Houses Broken In Half”

  1. Dear,

    I would like to use some photographs posted on your site or a scientific study on the earthquakes. These are posted on September 5, 2010. When using the images I will provide credits to and any other source you may request. The images shows flooding of streets in New Brighton posted with tag on the photo “hijacka(147), the copied link is as follows:,

    The Blog is titled: “Christchurch Canterbury Earthquake Aftermath – “Houses Broken In Half” and found at the following link:

    Can you please provide permission for their use? If possible please send notification to email provided with this comment/request.
    Thank you

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