March 1, 2011

Another day in Christchurch 28th Feb 2011

Not your typical day.... we evacuated our pets from the Polytech animal room today. Rabbits, chinchillas, birds, rat, fish and a turtle. Our technician, Steph, was able to get back up to feed and water them all last Thursday with the promise of access again Saturday. However, it was deemed unsafe after a large aftershock and she has been unable to get back up to them.  We got the newly arrived Massey veterinary USAR team on board and in a coordinated effort, Libby picked me up in her "truck" and we inched our way slowly through the traffic and dust to meet Steph at the cordon. I wanted to get a spare cage from my car, trapped in the work car park... no way!

I sent through a photo earlier showing the mass of USAR people there.  As my friend Libby and I sat waiting in the shade, keeping cool, a journalist from Radio Live, Simon, appeared with microphones. He is cycling his way along the Avon river, and stopped to record us when he saw the pile of cages.  No sooner had he finished, Matt, from TVNZ came to record the process for Animal Rescue. Gotta love being televised at these moments when you have not been able to shower, but they faithfully filmed us transferring the cages and taking them home to Steph's in Lincoln Rd.  We have both often been filmed with the animals at the now collapsed CTV building.... but this was very different!

After a hurrily munched Hot Cross Bun provided by Tina, another workmate, we went back to Animates for a bird cage. The store in Moorhouse Ave is awash with silt and is also being evacuated but they were happy to lend us one.  Back to Steph's to deliver it, collect Shelton the turtle and the small travel tropical fish tank, and set off to the north side to Animates in Papanui Rd, who are kindly going to care for Shelton.  Finally we set off back to the west side of the city, where I was able to get more candles, make Libby a coffee on the gas stove, and then she headed off to the far end of the spit at New Brighton. A long day of heavy driving for her. Thank you :) The tropical tank, including a huge Plecostomus, are now safely in our tropical tank; the one that is hooked to the generator... the one taking the power while we still have no fridge.

Sadly, we saw many destroyed parts of town, collapsed shops and endless silt. "Liquifudge" is the best name I have heard to describe it. The police and army are everywhere with fire engines and ambulances weaving in and out. We felt bad being on the roads!

By the end of it all I was tired and hot and dusty. Nothing like a good baby wipe wash at moments like this.  Duly freshened my partner, son and I headed back up North to get petrol for the car and generator, eat at Subway and race round the supermarket. I started down one aisle, looked at the impressive wine bottle collection, and retreated to a safer spot. I have seen the footage of what happens when the earth moves in those places and it did actually shake as we queued at the checkout. Although the roads are busy there was no queue for petrol or the shops. Was hard to know what to buy when you are avoiding all the meat and dairy  and frozen sections - but pasta, tinned fish etc will be on the menu for a while. They think power to our area will be out for at least another week if we are lucky. Sigh.

So our routine is to boil three pans at a time. A small coffee one. A medium one to wash with and a large one for dishes. Usually any left is saved for drinking water - for us and the pets. At least we have running water and are not trekking out to the tankers now.

Was good to see so many of my friends today. Our workplace is closed until at least the 14th March. I really don't know any more yet but we have no access to work emails, our stuff, our files, and can do almost nothing. In my department, one staff member has a badly damaged house and is camping in one room with no real facilities. Another has no power, water or sewage.  One has been evacuated from her home, another is safe with her Mother and the other has left town.  We need to get our own lives in order first.

So I am sitting writing this by candlelight, finally at home after a long day.  Tomorrow we will observe two minutes silence at 12.51 pm NZ time for the many people who have died. I know 4 of them.

And so it continues....


  1. I'm glad that you've managed to rescue some of the animals at least. You are now the link between the personal reality of the situation and what we hear on the television. I admire your courage and fortitude and all that you are doing. I don't need to say kia kaha because you are demonstrating strength that would put most of us to shame.

  2. You're doing a great job just reporting all this on you blog. I linked here from mine today saying that I think you're giving us a “macro” view of the situation – focusing on detail in a way that gives a better understanding of the whole. /monica

  3. Thank you for the updates. What a horrible tragedy you are enduring and I can't say how sorry I am to hear you lost so many friends.

  4. We came here from Wilf's blog in France...a rather round about way to get to New Zealand...just the few minutes I've spent reading your blog has brought to life what has been in the papers since the earthquake hit. You've made it real. We are keeping you in our thughts and prayers! Thank you for taking the time to post in what must be total chaos in your lives...

    Scruffy, Lacie and Stan and their mom from Pittsburgh, PA, USA

  5. I haven't commented much, but I'm glad you're reporting on this from a personal level. It's very interesting reading. I'm saying a prayer for you and your neighbors. God bless!

  6. Great job you are doing. Luckily the strong wind stayed away yesterday which would have blown all the liquifaction everywhere. Sorry to hear you haven't any power yet. Take care and a big hug

  7. So pleased that you rescued some animals. Thank you for keeping us informed, take care.


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