Christchurch, NZ shaken by a 7.1 Earthquake early Saturday. The temblor shattered the calm of residents out of bed at 4:35 AM New Zealand time. The quake hit the 30 KM west of the city in the town of Darfield. The shaker epicenter is 33km in the Earth.
Older buildings in the center of the city suffered heavy damage. Many buildings with brick facades came down. Others collapsed or partly collapsed from the quake.
Water is not available as water mains broke, sewer lines damaged. New Zealand Civil Defense and the military are guarding the city.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told New Zealand News that the good news is there are no deaths and two serious injuries. Mayor Parker everything is good as expected however there maybe underlying issues”but I think it’s like an iceberg. There is, in a sense, below the visible line significant structural damage.”
“There would not be a house or a family in our city that has not in some way had damage done to their person and or their property,” Mr Parker said.
“Our thoughts are with our people. “We know that a lot of people will be very nervous, deeply disturbed.”
Power is slowly being restored in the city and surrounding areas. He urged residents not to travel to the city center to look at the damage which may interfere with rescue operations.
Christchurch Hospital along with the city’s other hospital with victims mainly minor injuries. However two men in their 50’s were injured in separate incidents. One man was severely injured by the chimney of his home fell on him. The other man injured by falling glass. Both men were taken to Christchurch Hospital.
Shop owners are struggling with damage in the city with road blocked and damaged building victims are not able the get need supplies to survive during the quakes aftermath. From New Zealand Herald:
Nigel Bond, owner of the New World on Colombo Mall says he could barely see the floor of the supermarket this morning for stock, much of it now unusable. His staff have been working to clean up damaged stock since 5.30am.
“Unfortunately our big water shelf has collapsed and most of that stock has been lost,” he told nzherald.co.nz.
“There’s a bit of structural damage, like cracks in the floor and fallen ceiling tiles. Nearly everything’s on the floor. Red wine, olive oil, you name it – it’s not pretty.”
Residents told tales of horror:
Marsha Witehira, 30, was rescued by friend Tama Wharepapa, who literally pulled her to safety by her feet as a wall in her bedroom collapsed around her.
“It just missed my head,” Ms Witehira said. “I’m very lucky to be alive. If Tama wasn’t here to wake me from my sleep and pull me out, I really wouldn’t like to think what the result would be.”
Knee Doherty was asleep in her central Christchurch home when the building next door collapsed.
“We didn’t even notice the movement as much as the noise,” she said. “The back of the house is pretty much gone. All the house next door is gone. It was just a massive noise.”
The media give their account of the aftermath of the Canterbury quake:
New Zealand Herald reporter Jarrod Booker,who lives in the central Christchurch suburb of Linwood, said he was woken by “extremely violent shaking.”
He said the chimney from his next door neighbour’s house had fallen and smashed through a car’s windscreen.
“There have been a number of aftershocks of a much lesser degree since then.”
Mr Booker’s partner, Kineta Knight, said it was a scary sight to see.
“The scariest thing was the quake just felt like it would never end. It wasn’t a sharp, sudden jolt. It was like being on a rollercoaster.
“Things were smashing everywhere, we could hear glass breaking.”
Newstalk ZB reporter Craig Kerr spoke to Auckland host Pat Brittenden from the Christchurch office, which he said had sustained damage.
“Basically, the place is destroyed. Desks that were standing up are flattened against the ground. The filing cabinets are tipped over. The lifts in the building are obviously out of action.”
“The building just along the road from us here has been flattened – it’s on the ground,” he said.
A Timaru resident told NZPA he was awakened by the shaking. His house was groaning and a bedside lamp crashed off its table.