Christchurch revisited

A month or so back I went to a lunch meeting at the Lemon Tree Cafe, in Christchurch only to find I was the only one there.  So instead I went for a short walk into the Square and out again before my parking expired as the clampers don’t muck around.

Lemon Tree Cafe Christchurch

Lemon Tree Cafe Christchurch

It was the first time I’d been into central Christchurch since 22nd Feb. 2011, when, unable to drive in from Ilam due to grid-locked traffic I’d walked in to find Kirsty following the 6.3 quake.  I thought it was just another aftershock from the Greendale quake of 2010, so it wasn’t until I started meeting streams of dusty people, some towing suitcases that I realised there was more to it.  Hagley Park had become a series of white lakes from liquefaction with clusters of evacuees on the islands of high ground.  Crossing the Avon into the central area, collapsed buildings and fissured roads made it clear this was no ordinary aftershock and all the time the ground was vibrating even between the shocks.  There’s plenty written about the quake and it’s after effects, the 180 killed and the impacts on the city and it’s citizens, for an overview the wiki page is as good as any

If you can find it, they say “When a City Falls” is a real good doco, filmed by a man who was living in the ‘red zone’ here is the trailer.

For an interactive map of the earthquakes go here (recent quakes) and click on February 22 in the top left corner, then click on ‘sticky dots’ and zoom in to get an idea of the intensity of quakes (they start at around 12.50pm).

But back to the walk about, in 4 years there is a lot that has been achieved but it’s nearly all knock it down and stabilising facades, they’ve been going on about rebuild for at least 3 years but there’s precious little of that in evidence.  The city is an open vista of empty lots divided by security fences and weeds, although my photos don’t really show it. Despite the hype of returning vibrancy, on this day at least it was almost empty except for the work crews, but there are surprises, distant views of buildings that couldn’t be appreciated before, because of the concrete around them, such as the GPO from High Street and the odd decorated wall that gives it a lift.  It was good to see the Cathedral and be reminded that architecturally it really is something but I can understand why the Anglican Church doesn’t want to foot the bill for the resurrection.

Now if it’s this slow when the economy is strong and insurance is meeting most of the bills, imagine what it is like for poor countries such as Haiti.

Haiti: 5 Years After Massive Earthquake

A 7.0-magnitude quake on January 12, 2010, killed more than 200,000 people in what has been called one of the worst natural disasters of modern times. More than 1 million people were left homeless, of which almost 80,000 are still without a “proper roof over their heads.”

Click on an image to open the gallery in full size.

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2 Responses to Christchurch revisited

  1. Real interesting to get your perspective Graeme, thanks for the tour.


  2. Pingback: Christchurch Revisited II | Between the ocean and the sea

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