Effects Of Chch Quake On Expats

Here are some first hand accounts taken from around the net of expats experiences of the 7.1 quake that hit Christchurch and the Canterbury region of New Zealand on 4 Sept 2010. The quake was felt across the country and from Invercargill in the south to Auckland in the north.

So far these accounts are about Woodend, Kaiapoi, Darfield, Christchurch CBD, Avonside, New Brighton, St Albans, Belfast and Brooklands. At this early stage (5 Sept 2010) many people still don’t have access to the internet in the worse affected areas.

Keep checking back as we will be updating this page as more accounts start to come in from the rural areas that took quite a hit from the quake:

CC Earthquake (from yahoo groups)

“We’re not in Chch, but near Darfield and the epicentre. I grew up in California, so am no stranger to earthquakes, but this is the most  intense one I have ever felt. I was actually awake, as my husband had  just been up to tend to the fire and his bladder, so was watching the  firelight flickering from the other room… and heard what sounded  like a livestock truck coming down our gravel road (we live rurally).

I thought what a strange time to be moving livestock, and then the  house started to shake. Scrambled out of bed and had to hang on to  furniture to keep from falling, that’s how violently the house was shaking. I can’t ever remember being that scared before. We have had literally dozens of aftershocks, 2 in the last 10 minutes, in fact. But, we’ve never lost power, the brick chimney is still standing, and there’s no apparent damage (though DH will be inspecting the foundation later on today). We have sheds and outbuildings aplenty,  and everything’s fine, everywhere. An empty can fell off a bench in  the kitchen, and a small ornament fell off a top shelf (and it was bluetacked!!!). The shelves are all bolted to the walls….”

“I’m so glad hear most people made it through this OK. It was certainly quite an experience- I can’t imagine what it must have been like for those closer to the epicenter.

We’re all good in Woodend. When we bought our house, we rolled our eyes a bit at the very thick reinforced slab, but we are quite thankful now. We didn’t have any damage and only a few things fell off shelves, It was easy to imagine it wasn’t that big until we saw that 90% of the water from the dogs dish and the papartially filled pan on the stove sloshed out. We lost power for a couple of hours and our Civil Defense coordinator said water and sewer were unaffected.

Overall, we feel very lucky. Our neighbours say Kaiapoi is a mess and we have friends in town who have been evacuated due to flooding and others that have enough damage to their home that they need inspection before knowing if they can re-enter.

We have power and water and a big pot of chili on the stove if anyone wants to come over. ***** just left on a mission to shop in Rangiora (we’re fine for essentials, but low on a few kid favourites that would be nice to have). I’m curious how crazy it will be. He stopped by ***** yesterday and they say they only lost 4 bottles to the quake, so not too bad

A British expat:

We live in the CBD – right near Victoria St where loads of buildings crumbled into street, including (as we discovered whilst stumbling a bit dazed in search of coffee) Our Daily Bagel – got to it and the entire row of shops have lost the top storey facade. AND they couldn’t steam the milk when we did find coffee…

But extremely thankful that this was the main inconvenience – we got a terrifying rumble at 4.35 (took pics of the tower junction clock stuck on 435 – all the clocks in town the same). Thought it was a storm battering us, then realised it was possibly going to bring the house down (live in a ground floor flat in old Kiwi villa so storey above us).

Grabbed my daughter (who would NOT wake up) and STILL no idea we were in a quake. Not until I tried to stand and was thrown against the dresser that I clued on to the rhthmic sort of sliding movement – like the house was sliding back and forth on it’s foundations – that I really panicked. It was like being in the dodgems or on a ride – and this endless bang, bang, bang and woosh, woosh, woosh. And then the creaking sounds of the weatherboard…

We did not lose power or water or mobile phone or net and for that I am very, very grateful!!! In the dark (not wanting to turn on lights as aftershocks kept rolling in and had this idea that I’d start a fire), couldn’t hear noise from the other flats the first thing I did was turn on the laptop!! And all that came up from google were bloody twitter messages!!!!

Was very frustrating not to be able to get info. The web had nothing at that point (Besides useless tweets and we’ve just moved in so no TV yet. Plus, who the hell has a radio except for my grandma???? I’ll be getting one as the online radio streaming wouldn’t work – heard other reports of it being unreliable. A lot of Christchurch sites wouldn’t load either.

Found these sites useful (for next time…NO THANK YOU! )


Get Thru

Civil Defence

slept last night under table in office with car packed and unlocked ready to go after a friend phoned to say Civil Defence had advised us to evacuate to Addington Raceway!! Neighbours weren’t moving and promised to come get us and drive to their family in Ashburton if it got bad so stayed put. Finally got some sleep after midnight but very jumpy after the larger afterschock of the afternoon/evening (reports saying it was around 530pm but we were in supermarket at that point and felt nothing then got a big jolt about an hour or so later)

Never ever want to experience it again and think that was part of the shock – I knew there were quakes in NZ but had looked into it and ChCh is not known for big ones! Even spent ages studying the display at the museum 2 weeks ago.

Went for a wander round the cbd at around 7am after it happened and thing that most stood out were the ducks – there were half a dozen perched on top of the language school building near punting on the Avon on Worcester St making a huge racket.

Interestingly their wee ducklings were still on the ground!!! Talk about every man (or duck) for themselves!!

Apparently (via twitter) there were reports of animals/pets waking people around an hour before it happened.

Hope everyone’s getting their power back on today. We’re still boiling water – tried to buy but the shop had no eftpos. Might take a wee wander up later. Great comraderie around early morning yesterday but was interesting to see it wear off by around 9 or 10 as so many cars and ppl started clogging the cbd. Can’t imagine how the tourists are feeling – we came over for a quick hol exactly this time last year and would’ve been scared witless…as we pretty much are now and with no plane waiting to take us elsewhere..

Upstairs flats had chimney bricks come through the ceiling (was hard to ascertain as chimneys not functioning and mostly covered up – took a while for us to figure out where all the random bricks were coming from in a weatherboard house!!!). They crashed down his stairs which runs in between our kitchen/lounge and out through the glass panels in his front door and into the yard. Big mess. All around his staircase we have plaster/wallpaper damage but it doesn’t appear structural – still making a quick dash through the wee under the stairs access to kitchen/bath

One of the bedrooms juts out at back with no storeys above and has the least amount of cracks so that’s where we’re sleeping – under the big family dinner table I thoughtfully purchased instead of a desk!!!

Just very glad to have power/water etc (and the www of course!). How are things out west? I have heard we bore the brunt of the shock around here – and the shops in Victoria St really gave me a fright in the early hours of the morning! 2 doors down their whole side brick wall came away. Very glad for weatherboard!

Another British expat

“Probably the most terrifying event of my life. The worst thing was not being able to get to my kids because the bed was shaking so violently.

We are in Selwyn about 30km from the epicentre. Compared to other friends and neighbours we have suffered minor damage; china broken, cracked toilet etc

The current situation here is that most people have had power restored, although it goes off now and again, water in some areas is contaminated and a boil water notice in place for Rolleston and Tai Tapu. There is sewerage going into the rivers too! Some bridges are impassable

All schools in Selwyn and Waimakari closed until Wednesday. Lincoln Uni closed for a H&S assessment until further notice.

I work for New World in Lincoln and we have limited supplies, but no chilled or frozen foods yet; our Distribution Centre taken a big blow. be interesting to see how the supply chain holds up in days to come.

Aftershocks have slowed considerably today but still had some that have had me ready to head for the door!

I hoping tonight might be a bit more peaceful and still!

We have a weather warning in place for the next 24 hours! Strong winds and rain to come.

For those of you that have been affected, I hope you are coping well and your loved ones are not too upset.

For those of you in the rest of the country, please do not underestimate the power of Mother Nature. If you haven’t done so, have your survival kits ready, your grab bags too.Write phone numbers on a peice of paper as well as store them in your phone, have cash to hand for 2 or 3 days, secure those tall cabinets to the wall and look what you have stored where. Make sure you have water for drinking and washing, petrol in your car and your phones charged and credit on them, and make sure your kids know the drill, wherever they may be.

Having lived through the past 36 hours and held my children in a doorway more than once and seen a grown man reduced to tears, this is not a situation I wish to repeat. For those of you on the outside looking in watching the news constantly, when you are that news it feels very differently, and right now I think most of us wishes we could switch channels for a few days.

Keep safe friends.”

First hand report of the christchurch earthquake

…We have a call from a friend in Avonside and she told us that her house was totally wrecked. We popped along to see if we could lend her a hand. Avonside looked like a scene from a horror film. There looked like there was a massive brown snake going down the river. There was cracks in the grass parallel to the river. Across the river the grass in Porritt Park was totally covered in a sheet of water. The bridge into Porritt Park had a ridge of tarmac across it. It seems that the south side of the river moved towards the North side due to liquification. This pushed up the mud into the centre of the river.

We went into our friends’ house and initially all looked OK. The chimneys that I had expected to see fallen into the living areas were intact. Going onto the property I noticed that the garage had moved about an inch away from the house. Going inside the ceiling looked like it was about to collapse at any second. There was big gaps between the walls and the floor. Due to liquification muddy water had seeped up through the carpets to stain them brown. Outside in the gaps between the concrete slabs, which had in places opened up wide, liquid grey sand had flooded out.

In some places the walls had moved vertically to each other and in others there was gaps in the floors especially at doorways.

Woo another tremor as I write. You feel your feet move more than your upper body when you are sitting down. Every creek of the house as it expands in the hot sun makes you nervous that you are going to get another bad shake. The TV said that another aftershock could be on its way nearly as big as the first

Looking around the Avonside area I saw a house which looked fairly intact, but it looked like it was leaning forward. The worse looking property I saw was a joined unit which looked like it had been snapped like a piece of wood across a knee. There was a very large gap in the road as if it had moved south. There was also lots of liquid sand at the side of the roads.

Whilst driving around putting cancelled signs on our open homes New Brighton seemed to have damage to the ground rather than the houses as if it moved in one big chunk, Aranui and Avondale looked normal, Woolston had damage to houses with walls and some chimneys down, but the ground seemed intact.

People did not necessarily panic, but ensured that they had enough water as the water supply had gone off and queues at petrol stations. If you have no home to live in as we did not know what the future will bring you need to have enough petrol to get to somewhere safe.

expats that moved2nz
“Hopefully they are wrong with this aftershock at 6 magnitude. Most of brick houses are severly damaged here at St Albans. Ours survived without damage, but broken glass, mirrors etc were all over the house. Hopefully our landlord won’t charge us . I am still a bit shaky but this may be nerves. Never experienced antyhing this strong, hopefully next 7 will be a beemer.  Now we’re all in the living room, nobody wants to go to bed, as 2 bedrooms are upstairs [Errmmm…] ”

“We are in Belfast (north end of Chch) and have survived unscathed with no damage to the house at all, but there is liquefaction silt at the other end of our road and a large hole in the verge, so we feel very fortunate that the liquefaction didn’t occur at our end. Brooklands and Kaiapoi have suffered hugely with liquefaction – silt smothering most of the roads. One family we know in Brooklands has had to move out of their brand new house as it has cracked all over inside and out, and one end has sunk.
We have had contact with friends in Darfield and they are fine – they made no mention of damage. Another friend says there’s a fair bit of damage in Methven, but mostly fine.”