14 June 2011

Unwanted Vibrations Will Xtract Your Zoomability

Okay extract is spelt with a E and Zoomability is not really a word, but when dealing with the last six letters of the alphabet one has to make allowances for bad English.

Obviously this title is to do all six remaining letters in one blog and also talk about the latest events to get them off my chest and out there in the world where they will not harm me. (Well that's the theory anyway).

The Unwanted Vibrations are of course the vibrations within the ground caused by a 5.5 and a 6.0 scale "aftershock" in the Christchurch area. Unlike those of 4 September 2010 (which woke me up from a deep sleep - a mean feat in itself) and 22 February (where I ended up in  a doorway with my son hoping that our rental was a well built house) the 13 June quakes were mild in Timaru - well at least for me. (And my editors say I do not use enough fullstops).

My work mates and my son's daycare staff would disagree as the 6.0 sent the former out of the building in a mild panic and while collecting my son I noted a very stressed look on his teacher's face. But for some reason I did not feel any vibrations at all, the only tell tale signs of an Earthquake for me were the creaking of the building (5.5) and the violent swaying of children's artwork (6.0).

To be honest the 5.0 (which was 20Km closer to Timaru) on Monday the previous week was a lot more dramatic for me yet only toppled a few items off supermarket shelves in Christchurch. Though I admit I was sitting on porcelain attached to a concrete floor at the time, and being surrounded by un-reinforced brick walls was not an ideal position.

But whether I felt yesterday's quakes or not, Christchurch definitely did and even though there were no deaths this time it was a major blow for those exhausted individuals willing to remain in what is becoming a war zone. A minefield of unexploded bombs that once were majestic structures that made Christchurch the England of the south.

Those eastern streets which didn't get covered in grey sand became river beds instead. I would not blame any resident of Christchurch (especially those of the east) if they upped and went elsewhere leaving the city to its doom. Christchurch, for now, has lost its Zoomability.

The worse fact is that is it not over. The Christchurch residents cannot say "Well we have all this damage, but the worst has passed and we can get to and sort things out." They can pull up their sleeves, transport the huge tonnage of sand away from their streets (yet again), demolish the weak and strengthen the not so weak buildings etc. but another quake can then just send more sand into the streets and more buildings crashing to the ground making their determined work for naught.

It is easy to see why the mayor is showing fatigue and why more and more Christchurch people are showing their frustrations to the media. No one can give them any assurance it won't happen again. In fact there seems to be more evidence to the contrary.

And all I can do is sit at my computer, study, write or work and hope the loud noise with slight vibration is another truck making its way up the hill and not another quake that has already struck at the hearts of those desperate people 160km away to the north.

People of Christchurch - My prayers and thoughts are with you.



For those overseas people who were looking at travelling to New Zealand, keep your travel plans. As mentioned no one died last quake and with the off-limit areas well sign posted this will probably remain the norm. We are still a safe place to visit and if anything we are slightly more interesting with a bit more history than we had before.

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