This post is a little more personal than what I normally share, but I feel it’s the best way of sharing what’s happening in my circumstances at the moment in the aftermath of the recent Christchurch earthquake.
I have been overwhelmed with messages of support from friends and colleagues around the world, and am unlikely to have been able to reply to everyone personally as I’ve had infrequent connectivity until now, so please accept this as a message of thanks.
I was in Rotorua attending the Learning@School conference when the quake struck, and at when first told of it my reaction was a sort of “oh yeah, another aftershock”, until my phone began receiving dozens of texts from friends and family, making me aware of the true extent of the damage. A call home confirmed this, and so came the task of negotiating with AirNZ to get home ASAP.
I arrived home last night, the chaos in my office an reminder of what had happened the day before. Fortunately the rest of the house had been restored to “normal” by the family in the time since – we’re one of the lucky ones it would seem, with no structural damage – just some liquefaction around our house and our driveway cracked and in one place split apart.
The main difficulty will be lack of water and no sewage. My kids find it a novelty at the moment to go to the toilet in a hole that’s been dug in our garden – but that won’t last. Same for thousands of other families it would seem.Water and sewage may be out for thousands of homes for weeks yet – some estimate months. Power is still out to half of the city, we’re very fortunate in that regard.
The aftershocks continue also – 23 last night since 10pm, which leaves a lot of people sleepless. My extended family are all safe, although at least two will be facing losing their homes completely, and there are some massive messes to clean up inside – a job we’ll be helping with today.
The CORE office lies within the CBD, and adjacent to the PPG building that totally collapsed, so will be out of bounds for some time yet. All CORE staff who were in the building at the time got out safely – but are very shaken. Our building is an old government-built building, and possibly one of the strongest structures in the city, which provides some relief.
We managed to get all of the CHCH-based CORE staff who were in Rotorua back to CHCH yesterday, so the conference is left in the hands of the CORE staff from other parts of the country – I’m sure they’ll work to make it a success as in the past.
The next few days will be spent cleaning, helping, supporting and generally setting things up for a lengthy process of re-building lives I imagine.
Again, my sincere thanks for the messages of support and offers of help – it means a lot and demonstrates the very positive side of this highly interconnected, online world we live in.