Saturday 4 September 2010

Feeling shaken

Whoa, 7.1 earthquake in Christchurch early this morning! Centred only 30km outside the city and, even onlier, 10km deep - or shallow, rather. News shots are showing collapsed buildings in the city centre, rubble in the streets from fallen masonry, huge cracks in the roads, sink holes, lots of flooding from burst water pipes, state of emergency declared, curfew in place tonight. Nobody - so far - killed, thank goodness. And it's a sunny day there today, which is a blessing.
I remember the Inangahua earthquake in 1968, also 7.1, but centred about 160km north-west of ChCh. That one happened early morning too, and I woke with my bed shaking, the blinds banging against the window frame and all the neighbourhood dogs barking. That's the only big one I've ever felt, and from what people are saying, it was nowhere near as violent, prolonged and frightening as this one.
There's been talk of having to rebuild the city, but that sounds rather alarmist: it's not like the 7.8 Napier quake that really did destroy the town in 1931 (so it was recreated as an Art Deco city). This one looks to have done a tiresome amount of infrastructure damage - amazingly though not to the futuristic, all-glass Art Gallery - but probably Christchurch will look much the same again once it's all fixed. Eventually: it's going to take ages. I hope it will get back to its familiar, pretty self, anyway. It's my home town!

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