Feb 24, 2011
There are a lot of people visiting this site and viewing the photos from the original earthquake so I figured I better update with some new Christchurch earthquake photos following the devastating aftershock on 22nd February at 1pm.
I’ve had no access to the Internet or a computer other than my cell phone which had a very intermittent connection and limited battery life. After spending a night sleeping in a tent in the garden of our damaged home, my wife and I set off in the car to head to a friend’s house just south of Timaru, which is where we are now.
We’ve spent the day stocking up with supplies – food, water, candles, gas, petrol and others – and plan to head back to Christchurch tomorrow to get supplies to family members and help clear up our street and suburb.
Just after the aftershock settled on Tuesday afternoon, myself and colleagues fled our Tuam Street office to absolute devastation outside. We couldn’t see more than a block in either direction due to the clouds of dust that had arisen from buildings that had just collapsed.
From here, we picked up our vehicles from the CCC car park and headed out to get out of the chaos to a position where we could check on loved ones.
Heading first along Manchester Street, buildings that were already heavily damaged were now completely written off.
We couldn’t get much further down Manchester Street so eventually made it to Colombo Street where we slowly crawled past the horrific sight of the Colombo Street Smiths City over-bridge car park. Layers had collapsed onto each other and cars were sticking out of the gaps. Hopefully if anyone was inside they would have hit the ground and would be safe under the support of the cars either side of them.
As we got to Moorhouse Avenue, we found we had to quickly drive underneath and carry on down to Brougham Street as the bridge was being closed at that moment. From Brougham, we headed back up towards Madras. The traffic lights were out and the intersection was chaos.
Over the next couple of hours, we continued crawling through heavy traffic. Impressively, everyone was very orderly despite the feeling of panic and the continuing aftershocks. We chatted to others in other vehicles to exchange news and stopped to speak to a lady that had broken down following water in the engine after having driven through floods.
We later came to those floods and luckily made it through while following the path of the vehicle in front.
After we finally made it to our home in the Aranaui and Bexley areas, we saw a different level of destruction. Some houses were badly damaged such as this one where the top floor had collapsed onto the ground floor …
But the most common sight was extensive damage to the roads. Papanui, Breezes, Wainoni, Shortland Street and many more roads had large cracks and large sink holes. There were approximately 6 cars and 1 large Ready Mix cement truck that had fallen into holes within a few blocks of each other. All people appear to have escaped without serious injury as far as I could tell.
Perhaps the most impressively stuck car was this small silver hatchback that went head first into a large hole in a street just off Shortland Street (between Shortland and Breezes Road) in Aranui. The rear hatch was open when we came across it. Apparently there had been one person and a dog inside but they managed to escape. The silt has now settled around and inside the car, making the vehicle an intimidating monument to the earthquake.
There have actually been much more horrific photos and videos in the news from the central city. I was mostly oblivious to these until I finally saw the news on a friend’s TV in Rolleston as I headed to Timaru. Watching footage of people being lowered from buildings and horrendous building damage and fires, it’s no wonder that friends and family outside of Christchurch were so concerned about our safety.
Our office was very close to buildings that are now flattened but luckily we got out ok. Our thoughts go out to those that didn’t.
Our home has significant cracks around the conservatory and the large rear garden wall has collapsed into our neighbour’s garden which is completely flooded. However, other than the fact that pretty much everything inside the house is smashed or on the floor, all we have to contend with is an anxious dog.
The fire brigade have already taken one run through our street to remove an unstable chimney and check on other houses.
Now that my wife and I have stocked up in Timaru, we’ll head back to our home in Christchurch tomorrow and help out where we can.
There were heaps of queues at petrol stations as far as Ashburton and many had run out (although some had run out of just 91 and 92 but diesel was mostly fine). If we can, we’ll fill some containers in Timaru and bring petrol back for those that really need it.
You can view more photos on my Flickr Photos page.