On Tuesday the 22th of February a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, NZ. I was in a lecture at the time. We were attempting to reschedule a few classes when the room started to shake. At first, I didn’t believe it was real; it seemed like an amusement park ride. After a few seconds the lights went out and the emergency lights came on. At this point my professor told everyone, “get under your desks.” The shaking went on for quite a while. When it was finished my professor told everyone to get out of the building. We went into the car park and as we were standing there I could see the glass quiver as the first aftershock hit. The ground beneath our feet became unstable and we held onto each other just in order to stay standing.
When the aftershock hit we were still wondering if they would have us go back to lectures. The earthquake did not seem very bad to us at the time. We made our way to the sports fields at which point my flatmates came and found me. My flatmates are all kiwis and so were very worried about how I had felt through the earthquake. We went back to our flat but weren’t allowed in. The engineers were still checking them to see if they were structurally safe.
Meanwhile the campus was in utter mayhem, cars were everywhere and everyone was on their cell phones, trying to get in contact with their loved ones. We went down to the corner shop to get some water. My flatmates said that there probably would not be any water for a while. As we were walking back another big aftershock hit and we all dropped to the ground.
That was when we decided we would all sleep in the living room over night. Nobody wanted to sleep alone in their room. It was good that we did sleep in the living room because there were several large aftershocks throughout the morning. That morning we all got up and continued watching the news, we got power back at about 7:30 the night before.
Although we really didn’t get hit that badly, the earthquake devastated central Christchurch. My flatmates decided they would all go home because the University would probably be closed for a while. I decided I would go and stay with a good friend of mine from home who lives in Dunedin, which is south of Christchurch.
She took me out for a little tour of the city yesterday, which is really lovely. It’s built on all these hills surrounding the central harbor and it such a pretty city. We took a really nice hike up one of the hills and got a great lookout over the city.
It was like hiking through a tropical forest. There were giant ferns, huge old trees, and beautiful waterfalls.
My heart goes out to all of those affected by the earthquake and gratitude to those that are lending a hand in helping Christchurch recover. New Zealand is clearly a strong, close-knit country and everyone is being very supportive of those who were in the quake. New Zealand you are a beautiful and great country and will get through this!