Sunday, 17 July 2011

Visiting friends and places affected by the Christchurch earthquake

My plane touched down in Christchurch at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. I was last in Christchurch a year ago.

I was welcomed by a magnitude 4.4 earthquake 11 minutes after I arrived. I couldn’t believe it. Flicked on to Geonet and saw this:

Canterbury has been shaken by a 4.4 magnitude aftershock today.
The quake struck at 11.11am, 10 kilometres east of Christchurch and at a depth of 11km, GNS Science reported.
It was felt in eastern Canterbury.

After lunch, Gavin and Ruia drove me in to the Central Business District (CBD) and just a km from Bryndwr where we live we started seeing damaged walls and fences, then some vacant sections, where once proud family homes stood. Many badly damaged houses have been removed. The closer we got to the CBD, the more the damage.. My old pub, the Carlton,was a vacant site, removed after it was badly cracked and structually unsound.

Landmarks in my life were missing as I drove around Central Christchurch. Diggers, cranes and excavators were busy demolishing buildings and disposing of debris. Hotel Crown Plazza in the background. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Brian Taylor, a close friend of mine for 30 years, was killed on this site when the CTV building collapsed on 22 February. The building has been demolished and the slab at the right side of the photo is where the building once stood. I stood awhile, said a prayer for Brian, and thanked him for all he did for me. I talked to Prue, his wife today, and we discussed how yesterday would have been his birthday. Photo: Bob McKerrow

A bunch of flowers on the fenced off wire cordon at the CTV building, brings colour to a solemn scene. photo: Bob McKerrow

Juddy (Robin Judkin's) shows me the gaps and cracks in his house which sustained much damage during the February earthquake. His hillside section has a faultline running through it and there is an errie feeling of 'what next.'  Juddy has been severely traumatised by the damage and the uncertainty that awaits him, and other Christchurch residents. Gavin, Ruia and I walked along the beach with him, and climbed up to his hill-top house and enjoyed a pot of tea and bisciuts. Photo: Bob McKerrow 
Although having a damaged house, a section that may crumble away in the next quake,  Juddy was able to find some humour. As we walked along Sumner beach  we came to a decapitated Shag Rock, he said " let's try and do the first ascent of Shag Rock," now headless and renamed by Juddy as 'Shag Pile.' So Judkins asked me to join him on the first known ascent of 'Shag Pile," a difficult climb on shattered rock. Juddy led up a steep gulley, almost to the summit, which we reached, almost together. From the top of Shag Pile we could see Ed Cotter's shattered house, pictured below. Bizzare humour for bizzare situations.
What is left of the home of my old friend Ed Cotter, teeters on the cliff edge above Shag Rock, Sumner. Some houses plummeted down during the February quake, and many of these abandoned houses sit precariously at the edge. Photo: Bob McKerrow

On the left a wall of containers  act as a barrier to falling rocks from the hillside. The houses and buildings on the right are abandoned and very unsafe, Photo: Bob McKerrow
Avonside which is in the Red Area,  has suffered from liquefaction, subsidence and people have no alternative but to move. It will revert back to park lands. Photo: Bob Mckerrow

It was fascinating to study first hand the effects of liquefaction in Christchurch yesterday which is a phenomenon in which the strength and stiffness of a soil is reduced by earthquake shaking or other rapid loading. Liquefaction and related phenomena have been responsible for tremendous amounts of damage in historical earthquakes around the world.

The photo above is taken inside a building where I am showing the old and dried layers. In my hand I have my back foot on the layer from the Feb EQ, and my other foot is standing on the new wet layer, which spurted out in the recent June earthquake.
Tomorrow, Monday 19 July, I will be meeting NZ Red Cross staff and volunteers who are part of a large team providing grants and crucial services to earthquake affected people in Christchurch and environs. The NZ Red Cross have raised 100 million NZ dollars.

On Friday in Wellingtom I met Junita Douglass at the NZ Red cross HQ. She runs the cash grant programme in Christchurch and i had a chance to talk about the details with her. We had previously met in Aceh Indonesia where she worked for the Bristish Red Cross on livelihood programmes.
Photo: Bob McKerrow


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Very sad to see the personal stories and the ongoing trauma. Particularly sorry to see the Ed's place is in such condition. Please pass on my regards and best wishes to all the fine people I met down there when visiting you.

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Yes Robb, sad to see how Colin and Betty, Ed Cotter, Robin Judkins and many others are affected. Still midst it all Judkins found some humour. We did the first ascent of Shag Rock, now headless and renamed 'Shag Pile.' So Judkins asked me to join him on the first known ascent of 'Shag Pile," a difficult climb om shattered rock. Juddy led up a steep gulley, almost to the summit, which we reached almost together.From the top of Shag Pile we could see Ed Cotter's shattered house.

Marja said...

Welcome to Christchurch although not in the best state. Enjoy the stay with your family

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Thanks Marja. I am hoping the daffodils will flower before I leave.

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