It's really surreal, there are pockets of horrible damage, building collapsed, streets cracked and flooded. At the same time some places are relatively unaffected, in my house hardly anything fell over, things perched precariously on shelves stayed where they were, the only thing that tumbled was a necklace stand. The rest of the house is relatively unaffected too - we have many treasures from my parents travels, beautiful, breakable and irreplaceable things all of which are fine.
|Photo:David Alexander AP|
Some people were not so lucky. Their houses are uninhabitable, they are in rescue centres, one which is in a school near my house. Yet I can wander round my suburb and see that people are slowly getting back to normal here, even though the aftershocks are still shaking us.
My personal experience? As I first knew what was happening (shaken awake at 4.35am, it took a second for my brain to realise *Earthquake*) - I was excited, this was something that doesn't happen in in places like this. I think since there was little damage to my house the seriousness of it didn't strike me. The power was out from the time of the quake and I managed to hear some reports on the radio but it wasn't until I was able to see the T.V news report later in the afternoon and the see some of the damage that it really struck home.
|Photo - Canterbury University Library (from the UC Website)|
The University is closed for a week - to check it's safe and to tidy up, we were due back this week from holidays but no such luck (more of a hassle for us postgraduate students since we never really left). The damage looks horrible though, bookshelves toppled like dominoes.
I think we're going to be okay though. I hope that if you have family here you've managed to get in touch with them and know that they are safe, and that they haven't suffered too much damage.
The news reports and pictures showing the very worst damage can give the idea that Christchurch has been swallowed up by the earth or is lying in ruins so I can understand that a lot of people overseas may have been in a panic (I know my sister over in Germany was!).