Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Earthquake II

More news, none of it good.

Mr Knight tells me their penny farthing tour was hastily cut short. The organisers are an amiable couple called Robin and Viv Willans who live in central Christchurch, and as they drove in late last night, through heavy rain, they found the city in total darkness and, with devastated roads, were terrified of driving through puddles lest there wasn't anything underneath. A good many Christchurch workers park daily outside their house, and the fact that a number of cars were still parked there in the middle of the night suggests that the drivers are missing. Dead? Partly squashed? Trapped? No-one knows yet. The Willans' home is of reinforced concrete above the workshop where he builds his penny farthings, exquisite replicas so fine he has to engrave his name on every part so they won't be confused with originals. The building is standing but damaged, and upstairs everything is strewn around and smashed. In the workshop all the bikes are smashed, machinery toppled, everything covered with dust. His big milling machine lies on its side. Outside the road is covered with a couple of feet of silt, thrown up by liquifecation. Somewhere in the road, in a hole of its own size, sits a truck.

Skipping the Official News, which can be found everywhere, I managed to contact Paul Dunlop, Hon Sec of the New Zealand HPV club, KiwiHPV.

Hello Richard.

Yes, I'm okay. My home is a goner and totally uninhabitable. Not too sure how much of the contents can be salvaged. Currently staying with friends until things can be sorted out.

The city is just so damaged that it beggars belief. The majority of the city has neither water nor sewage systems. Today we had to queue three and a half hours to get some potable water, which the emergency services were supplying.

I heard one commentator refer to the February quake as being the polar opposite to September's one, which seemed to sum it up well.


The Knight's house in Rangiora creaks and groans every time they have an aftershock, with screeching noises like nails being pulled out of hardwood, which is probably because nails are being pulled out of hardwood. - There's a good reason for building wooden houses in earthquake prone countries. - Everyone's on edge and, with quakes sometimes as big as a 4 or 5 going on at an irregular rate of about four every hour, it's hard for anyone to get much sleep. Rangiora is a good 20 miles from Christchurch and not too badly damaged - they still have power and water - but a sprinkling of shop fronts on the high street are bulging alarmingly. No petrol anywhere.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home