March 3, 2011

Life in Christchurch. Day 9

Busy day circling the city going to a work management meeting across town. I decided to take the western side going over, circling well across the far side of Hagley Park and then south. The traffic was bumper to bumper and the trip was slow, so I headed East to return home. Interesting.  It was the same way we crawled home on the day of the quake. Less congested, but still a slow crawl through the potholes and shoveled piles of silt, all in endless dusty air.  I can totally understand why the people living there are struggling as they still have limited access to water, power and portaloos and the air is full of toxic dust now too. I didn't take a face mask with me but most people were wearing them.  In the North East where we live there is less problem but it is making working and living miserable for many.
 The Prime Minister is visiting tomorrow. The time has come to shift some of the focus to these people who need help now to stay in their homes.

Talking of portaloos
The portaloo wars in Christchurch are showing no sign of slowing down, with residents hauling the communal toilets closer to their homes for easy access.
In suburbs including Bexley, Aranui, Avonside, and New Brighton, there are only a few portable toilets, with some serving more than four streets.
There have been claims of lavatory theft and of people hiding them away, refusing to share the precious commodities with others who need them.
"In some cases...someone has taken a particular shine to a portaloo...and they have pulled it up their driveway in order to have frequent and free access to it," Mayor Bob Parker said yesterday.
"I am sure that is great for the person who gets it closest to their back door but to all intents and purposes it disappears off the streets."
Mr Parker suggested people try to sort out the issues themselves.

Families in Aranui are concerned about health problems. (3 News)

Anyway, I got sidetracked...
I was nearly home when a sign announced the final bridge to get home over the Avon River was closed. Not unexpected as every bridge seems to be "munted".  Mildly frustrated, I meandered off along side roads,  trying to work out where to go on the map regularly, and feeling terrible about clogging up the narrow pot holed areas full of tankers and trucks and drain sucker-outers and bulldozers. Very pleased to see all the effort, but was starting to feel frazzled and whimpery at one point..... a stern "grow some" talk to myself worked and I eventually found the reopened bridge at Anzac Drive and headed home.... only to see the original bridge I wanted to cross was open and working. Grrrrr.  Stretched nerves are not helping...

The silt confuses many people. Where does it come from? Hw does it squirt up into the roads? WHy are buildings sinking?  If you have not seen the short video that explains the meaning of "liquefaction"... watch this.

or watch it in action during an earthquake in this video

The sad news that we had come to realise was growing inevitable was announced at 3pm when the search moved from rescue of survivors to recovery of bodies.

The video of that announcement is here:

Such simple words, but the hope will be fading for many of the families still waiting anxiously for news of the loved ones still missing.  I am however sad that this is tonight's headline.

Searchers close to collapsed spire

Searchers are close to entering the collapsed spire of ChristChurch Cathedral, where up to 22 people are believed to have been killed.

LATEST: 6.26pm: Searchers are close to entering the collapsed spire of ChristChurch Cathedral, where up to 22 people are believed to have been killed.
An urban search and rescue team was preparing to access the inside of the spire, USAR and the Fire Service said in a statement this afternoon.
"This will then allow the systematic and controlled deconstruction of the debris to ascertain the location and recover of any victims in this area."
This is great news on the surface, but it also appears no one has been able to get in for the last 8 days to check that site as there have needed to be major reinforcements made to the building to secure it before entry. I sincerely hope that the USAR teams might have sent their sound equipment, heat detectors or even dogs in to do a check for life last week.  

I do know they have been busy working at the Cathedral though - this photo was taken in the square today by a friend (well actually a sister in law if we were married to the brothers we each live with) who lives inside the cordoned area.... the giant frame is supporting the facade of the cathedral.

Looking down Colombo St from the top end - the tall building is the one that lost its staircase. 

As much of the eastern side of the city copes without power, water and sewage, I am grateful for gas flames, running water, and the itty bitty generator. Along with 27,000 other people we still do not have power, but we are adapting to the new lifestyle. I was offered a shower today and actually said no... i had washed already and couldn't be bothered! 

We are also thankful that Jaz was due to return home for good today :)

Finally, Christchurch is trying to retain a sense of humour through all this.

sign 8

or this, that we can all identfy with!

1. You use the term "liquefaction" and "seismic design" in casual conversation.

2. Digging a hole and pooping in your garden is no longer weird.

3. Your mayor describes the city as munted.

4. Weaving through car size potholes on the street is no longer weird

5. Going to Wellington to escape earthquakes makes sense

6. A shower is heaven

7. You have a preference of which kind of silt you'd rather shovel, dry or wet

8. You see tanks driving around town

9. You are always noting what you are under

10. Due to frequent aftershocks during the night, you sleep like a baby--every 10 minutes you wake up and sh*t yourself

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post Fi... i'm a bit behind on looking at everyones LOL! One of my workmates is a bit of an artist [related to a well known deceased NZ artist] and asked if i could bring some silt home, which i did...scraped some off my parents drive in various stages of it's life LOL .... workmates were gobsmacked that it was as powdery fine - gave them much more understanding of the terrible state it leaves homes, drains etc in. Your first photo on here states it all without words! Horrible damn stuff.

    Take care doll


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