Any New Zealand members out there? Please check in with quake status!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We saw this on our news this morning. When we were in Christchurch three years ago we stayed with some lovely people just to the west. We haven't had a chance to check on them yet. Their buildings are very solid, thick-walled stone, our fingers are crossed for them. However, the news this morning said two people had been seriously injured, that was all. A few more injuries - cuts, abrasions, bruises, but nobody was killed, which for a city like Christchurch is miraculous. It's a beautiful city and a lot of the lovely old buildings are now rubble. There was some early looting but the police got onto it fast and are on guard.

    Interesting that the Sumatra volcano also erupted today, after 500 years of dormancy. It's on the same tectonic plate margin, just a bit to the north. It seems that the north/north-eastern part of the Australasian continental plate is very unstable in the last few years.

    One thing to note - New Zealand has the best earthquake scientists in the world and also has always at the ready, rapid response strategies. They have had some bad tragedies in past years especially a bad train tragedy after a lahar flow from Mt Ruapehu in North Island took out train tracks and a train was lost, decades ago. They will never let any such tragedy happen again.

    They really are amazing, as a country and a people. If you ever get the chance to visit, you will love the place as we did.

    When we were there and difficult child 3 was collecting resources for school, we were given this website:

    http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/recent_quakes.html

    husband has been following the accurate information with this site. We also used Google Earth to look at exactly where the epicentre was, compared to the airport, the place we stayed and the train line. Of course the train line was taken out. Thankfully the eruption was at 4 am local time, so everybody was in bed and no train was running.

    Images of the damage are horrifying. The army has been shipped in to ensure order - it's how Australia would have handled it too. Fast army response, within hours, keeps the peace, keeps people safe, cuts looting and organises rescue and recovery. As I said - they are organised and prepared.

    Our thoughts are with them. I know our government (what we have of one at the moment) will be doing whatever we're asked to do, to help our neighbours "across the ditch".

    Marg
     
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I was amazed that no one was killed, especially considering the photos of all the damage! I hope it doesn't take them too long to get things back to normal.
     
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Janie is there. She hasn't checked in. Are you reading, Janie?
     
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Is Janie in Christchurch or somewhere else in NZ? Christchurch lost power pretty badly, could be some time before either power, or computer internet, is up properly. Towers probably came down. Almost certainly, from what I saw. At least in the Canterbury region.

    Marg
     
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Janie moved after she got married........I haven't gotten a reply from her. VERY WORRIED about my KIWI sister.
     
  7. janie

    janie New Zealand

    Hi everyone,

    I will post a fairly quick reply here ....

    Yes, the earthquake was a pretty awful one .... much much worse for people in Canterbury than for me ....

    I now live in New Plymouth - which is on the Western side of the North Island - It is 765km (475miles) from Canterbury - in the South Island (where the earthquake was centred), but we were woken up with a large amount of shaking, even the bathroom cabinet doors banged back and forth for a while.

    A good friend of mine lives around 30km out of Christchurch - right where the earthquake was centred. She seriously thought her house was going to fall down on top of her. She said it was incredibly frightening, and all the aftershocks are not helping.
    The most badly affected buildings are the historic old ones. If you take a look on www.stuff.co.nz (that is a popular news site here in NZ) you will get an idea of what it all looks like.

    It is amazing that no one was killed. Absolutely amazing! :)

    As Kiwis we are used to earthquakes. New Zealand lies on top of a some major fault lines ..... our country pretty much sits on top of 2 tectonic plates - one is called the Pacific Plate, and other one I think is known as the Indian/Australian plate. Simplest explanation is when these 2 plates grate against each other - or ride up against each other the pressure builds to a certain point - the pressure has to be released somehow - and that seems to be when we get earthquakes. (No doubt someone else out there can probably explain this a whole lot better than me! .... )
    But we are not used to fairly big earthquakes that cause lots of damage like this one.

    We have VERY strict building codes - buildings are designed to withstand most large earthquakes - obviously the old buildings were built before this "modern knowledge" ....
    My father is a civil engineer - he saw a lot of changes in the building codes during his working life.

    I think what has affected many people with this most recent earthquake is that although we are constantly reminded to have an emergency kit put aside for "when a disaster occurs" many people haven't done this. Even BASIC things such as enough drinking water for several days, tinned food, blankets, torches, candles, transister radio to listen to news updates if the electricity is out etc, etc .
    Even having an emergency exit plan for families to leave their home when something like this occurs ..... I guess it is a timely reminder for all of us.

    My neatly packed "emergency kit" is all back at my old home several hundred kilometres away (we are just preparing to sell my home there) - a fat lot of good that emergency pack is to me when it is sitting in my old house! .... roll eyes here :)

    Anyway, I am fine - but there a lot of families who have been affected by this earthquake, and my heart goes out to them.

    Have a good week everyone.
    :)
     
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good to hear from you, Janie. Glad you're OK.

    We didn't get to the west of North Island when we were there, we landed in Auckland and pretty much headed east from there, went round Coromandel Peninsula then down to Taupo. After a week there we flew to Queenstown and then to Wanaka - we were just getting ready to leave Wanaka a week later when that huge snowstorm hit three years ago. But we drove from there to Christchurch (when the roads were open) and so we got to spend a few days in that city. We loved New Zealand, but really appreciated the earthquake-readiness and general disaster readiness that you have to live with. Across the ditch we live with the bushfire hazards and have our own emergency kits always ready. In summer we have to carry extra water plus wool blankets to cover ourselves in case we get caught in fire. It's because our family happens to live in a high fire hazard area, out of the city.

    New Zealand is GREEN compared to even the best-watered paddocks here.

    We are still waiting to hear form friends in Christchurch. I emailed, but haven't had a reply as yet. We're hoping their place is OK, it's a historic farmhouse with stables. Heavy stone walls, so hopefully it should be OK.

    Those aftershocks were bad, in quantity as well as magnitude.

    While we were in Taupo, we visited the Volcano Centre there, they had a very good physical simulation of a strong earthquake, 6.3 on the Richter scale. I watched husband & difficult child 3 bracing themselves on the bench seat in the little simulation room, they said if they had fallen on the floor they would not have been able to get up. And some of the aftershocks alone were nearly that big!

    difficult child 3 was very phobic about volcanic/earthquake activity before we went to NZ. Now he understands it a lot better and has been able to watch the news with interest and better understanding. I'm glad for his sake we weren't there for this one, though!

    Marg
     
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Janie it is a relief to know you are safe and sound! I also live in "earthquake country" and hear the reminders for safety kits often, too. I guess it's something I need to heed as well. It's easy to become complacent when the "big ones" are few and far between, and we become conditioned and accustomed to the smaller ones that happen on a more regular basis. I've got this on my "to-do" list now!
     
  10. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Thanks for checking in Janie. After reading your post, I remembered my Aunt that lives in NZ and need to see if my other Aunt (who speaks to her a few times a year) has heard from her.
     
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Shoot - I thought you were going to tell us it was your honeymoon that did all that thunderous shaking! :tongue: - WELL IT COULD HAVE BEEN......

    Glad to hear you are all okay! GO GET THAT EMERGENCY KIT....Hugs & Love - The shameful non-writing star
     
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    They're still getting bad aftershocks, almost as big as a major quake. I can't imagine people are getting much sleep at the moment. We still haven't heard from our friends, either. We know there were no fatalities, so we're thinking they've got no power or the server is down. Or they've got more urgent things to deal with. I know they're near the epicentre of the big quake.

    Marg
     
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