National State of Emergency, 22.02.11 Christchurch quake. Post Feb 22 quake, Leah soon posted this on Facebook, about her quake experience at her London St, Christchurch school. London St was on the edge of Fitzgerald Ave, which became a CBD, NO GO area with 3 other CBD Aves during the post quake, national State of Emergency:
Images, quake damaged Bealey Ave, London St, Pavitt St & Stanmore Rd:
22.02.11. Quake cordoned cnr Fitzgerald Ave / Bealey Ave
"Hi to all from Leah. Feeling absolutely shattered. Not too much sleep. Was in my classroom when the quake hit. Our bodies were thrown about. Items crashing off shelves, with kids very frightened.
We teach 12 children 6-9 years with learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD etc) took them outside together with the other 12 older primary aged pupils that make up our little private school."
22.02.11. Liquefactioned cnr Fitzgerald Ave / London St
22.02.11. Liquefactioned flats, London St
22.02.11. Sept 4 quake & Feb 22 quake damaged house, London St. The house was demolished
22.02.11. Liquefaction muddied & flooded London St
22.02.11. Liquefactioned muddied & flooded London St near Seabrook McKenzie Centre
"Eerie feeling in air around us. We clung together in the car park, soothing, reassuring, dishing out rescue remedy or supporting whoever needed it most, trying to keep ourselves in check so kids would feel we were there for them. Luckily we'd read all the literature already about how to support kids after an earthquake. Just didn't know we'd need it again so soon."
22.02.11. Liquefaction muddied & flooded front gate, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St
22.02.11. Liquefactioned front door, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St
22.02.11. Quake trashed office, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St
"City chaotic. Saw and smelt smoke over central city. [Smelt wood smoke and burning plastic in the air]. One parent ditched her car and walked to fetch her child. One child taken along the road to meet her mum in gridlocked traffic.
Our principal left on foot to deliver another child across a broken unusable bridge where a parent waited on the other side unable to get any further. Cell phones were unreliable. All urgently trying to get hold of loved ones, with no certainty that messages would get through."
22.02.11. Quake trashed classroom, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St
"Road outside usable but ripped open at edges. Watched liquefaction bubble and ooze, a bubbly, sloppy porridge of grey, watery muck onto the surface.
Our school back garden is now 3/4 covered in grey liquefaction sand. Road outside - wet and grey, and as we waited in the car park the surface continued to change shape and colour, with some little, grey volcanoes developing, oozing silt, and large, grey, silty pools of water and mounds of grey silt, changing the shape of the surface in an alien way.
Where my car was parked, a large mound of grey mud appeared underneath it and it was later difficult to move it out of the guck."
22.02.11. Liquefaction mud & water volcano, Seabrook McKenzie Centre car park. Liquefaction mud & water oozed during aftershocks throughout the afternoon
[I rocked the car in forward, then reverse gear before it reversed out of the gluey, cement like sludge. I'd seen other roadside, parked cars trapped in liquefaction mud beyond their axles. We were lucky to get it moving. In the thick of it, a hell hole. My feet were stained grey for days after the quake, didn't wash them to save water. 80% of Christchurch without water, day after the quake.]
22.02.11. Liquefaction mud & water volcano, Seabrook McKenzie Centre car park, London St
22.02.11. Liquefaction muddied & flooded car park, Richmond Community Creche, Pavitt St
"All afternoon we spoke to passersby, gleaning news and hearing the awful inevitable news of lives lost. But also, celebrating any time one of our loved ones arrived at school to be with us. While sharing a hug with a fellow S. African who is our Occupational Therapist, she suddenly said, "
'There's your son.' - Jake had walked from his work to mine to let me know he was safe.
After what seemed like forever waiting for him to get into the school car park, a kind parent ferried him across the calf deep water pool at our entrance, in her car. A huge hug and a little cry. It was SO good to see and cuddle him."
22.02.11. Quake peeled brick wall, liquefaction mud & flooding, Richmond Working Mens Club, London St. June 13 quake collapsed the wall & roof. The ruin was fence cordoned, obstructing traffic, for over 5 months before demolition began
[I got the works too, after I arrived like a swamp monster. I'd dumped my car in Whitmore St, as cops had cordoned off London St. I just waded through the filthy water, as I was already foul from my mucky wanderings.]
22.02.11. Liquefaction muddied & flooded Village Green, Stanmore Rd
"Caring for each other as we not only waited with the kids, but waited to hear that our loved ones were safe. Caring even for strangers who wandered in and joined us - looking for a cigarette or local knowledge of how to reach addresses to find loved ones.
Later when Mark arrived on foot, having left his car along the way, was another highlight. And when we got a text from Luke confirming his safety I could finally breathe easy."
22.02.11. Liquefaction muddied & flooded front gate, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St
22.02.11. Liquefaction mud & water volcanoes, school playground, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St
22.02.11. Kids, staff & parents awaiting transport in liquefactioned car park, Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St. Too dangerous to wait inside school bldg, due to aftershocks
"Around 5:30 when one school student remained, we left for home, driving my car to go and fetch Mark's car. I then followed him while we tried to find a passable route through the chaos of broken roads, silt, pools of water, mass of cars, no traffic lights, sirens.
Turning around at some dead ends where roads were no longer usable and taking side roads - with a dangerous bit marked by bricks, we finally got to less damaged roads."
22.02.11. Liquefaction mud & water volcanoes, Seabrook McKenzie Centre car park by back gate, Pavitt St
22.02.11. Liquefactioned feet during an afternoon's wandering through liquefaction mud, water & sewage, London St
[We turned back in Barbadoes St, only 4x4s could splash through the sink holes & flooding across the road].
22.02.11. Liquefaction flooded & muddied Pavitt St
Images of quake damaged Alexandra St & Fitzgerald Ave:
22.02.11. Liquefaction muddied & flooded Fitzgerald Ave nr Bealey Ave crossing. Buses were parked & evacuated, as nearby quake trashed CBD was deadly dangerous & Fitzgerald Ave north bound lane had collapsed by Avon Loop
"The closer we got to [our Burnside] home the more normal it became. If you went out of our house now and stood in our driveway and looked along our street, you might even ask, 'What earthquake?'"
22.02.11. Quake disorder, 5 Heath St home
"Our suburb Burnside is one of the lucky ones. We have water and before 9 pm had electricity too. Our hearts and prayers are with those who have a different outcome to ours. Thanks to all for caring."
Janet (NZ): If you want to come down to Oamaru for a break please do. The road through here has been chocka with traffic coming south. Feb 22 at 9:22 pm.
Steven (RSA): Horrendous. So sorry. Feb 22 at 10:57 pm.
Andrew (RSA): Sounds hectic, glad to hear you are all OK. Feb 23 at 2:14 am.
Pam (RSA): Glad to hear that you are all OK. Feb 23 at 2:14 am.
Pippa (Ca): I've just heard the news. I'm relieved to hear you, Leah and the boys are OK. Feb 23 at 2.39 am.
Louise (RSA): Been hearing snippets of news all afternoon while at work. Glad you are all OK. Feb 23 at 2:46 am.
David (RSA): So glad ur family are not physically hurt - u must be emotionally shaken though (no pun intended). Hope ur friends there are OK too. Feb 23 at 3.03 am.
George (RSA): Glad you guys are OK. Keep us informed. Glad you received the book. Enjoy. Feb 23 at 3:11 am.
Mark: Thanks George. Will post when things become "normal." Feb 23 at 7:32 am.
Scott (USA): Good to hear you all OK. Stay strong down there. Feb 23 at 1:06 pm.
Mark: Will do Scott. Feb 23 at 1:06 pm.
Mark: Janet. Will chat to Leah. Still trying to track down sons thru chaotic streets, mud, water, broken roads, traffic lights kaput everywhere. [Jake's flat flooded. Luke MIA for 3 days].
Traffic jam by Burnside HS yesterday nr home (while I searched for an open petrol garage) while Christchurch boots out tourists from hotels etc, to catch airways flights pronto out of Chch, to make accommodation available for rescue workers, more important than tourists now.
Tourists wanting to leave Chch were told to gather at Burnside HS. I saw lots there yesterday with their luggage, looking anxious, with a Maori security guy in the middle of Greers Rd directing congested traffic, buses, etc. Will contact again when things calm down. Regards to all. Feb 24 at 3:59 am.
Mark: Another aftershock. Bugger! Better switch off, or our computer will shake to hell, shaking while I type. Besides Jake's escape while his restaurant collapsed next to him, a small miracle for the Esslemonts was our phone was fixed by Telecom an hour before the quake, been OK all afternoon since the quake. Feb 22 at 8:22 pm.
Cherryn Paige (RSA): Glad you guys are OK. Feb 22 at 8:29 pm.
Mark: Cherryn Paige. Exhaustion setting in after adrenaline high. Leah OK. Jake & Luke with girl friends. Feb 22 at 8:54 pm.
Jonathan (RSA): Hope you guys will remain OK. Thinking about you. Feb 22 at 9.05 pm.
Janet (NZ): Poor Jake. So sorry for him. Thinking of you all. Feb 22 at 9.19 pm.
Averil (RSA): Stressing for you guys. Not an idea to go and stay with friends further out for a while till this is over? Feb 22 at 9:26 pm.
Rod (USA): Thinking of you. Please keep posting if you are able. If not, I think we will all understand. Feb 22 at 10:01 pm.
Debbie (RSA) Thinking of you guys. Sending lots of love. Feb 22 at 10:56 pm.
Gary (Ger): Praying for you here. Keep us posted when you get a chance. Feb 23 at 5:43 am.
Mark: Thank everyone for kind thoughts & prayers. Bldgs collapsed, the 4 CBD Avenues cordoned in a state of emergency, anyone not allowed will be arrested. People trapped, death figures varied last few hours, latest breakfast news: 38 confirmed dead, rescuers trying to dig them out, some trapped can be contacted by cell phones, awful scenes on TV.
No sleep last night, at least 11 aftershocks over magnitude 4, intensity much greater than Sept 4 quake, hence massive damage. Must try & rescue Jake & Luke, hopefully after a kip, from suburbs where there's no water & sewage flowing anywhere. Pipes kaput underground. Burnside, our suburb seems only place with intact water. Other poor citizens must queue for water at designated places. Feb 23 at 7:29 am.
Dave (Ca): I watched BBC news and am horrified at the devastation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Feb 23 at 8:37 am.
Mark: Thanks Dave. Feb 23 at 8:37 am.
Lilian (UK): Glad to hear you are all OK or at least were when you last posted. Thinking of you all. Feb 23 at 6:27 am.
Mark: Still OK Lilian. Feb at 7:32 am.
Mark: Heard Jake rescued work mates from collapsed Under the Red Verandah restaurant, by yanking out a hot water cylinder (geyser) with his bare hands.
Jake's now homeless as his flat was flooded with 2 feet of water, when a capped well burst below his flat. All his possessions gone. Feb 23 at 8:36 am.
Sheila (RSA): Jake is indeed a hero. It is astonishing the strength one finds in such challenging times. So sorry that he has been left in such a difficult situation. You must all feel very proud of him. Feb 22 at 9:36 am.
Mark: Very fit Sheila. Very proud. Feb 23 at 9:36 am.
Grant (Aus): Keep safe! A frightening time. Feb 23 at 0:57 am.
Averil (RSA): Scary. Your mom would have been a v. proud granny. Feb 23 at 12:30 pm.
Mark: Grant. Hope Brissies OK now after the floods.
Averil. Maybe the old girl's watching over us all. Feb 23 at 1:30 pm.
Averil (RSA): Definitely. Hugs to you all. Feb 23 at 4:40 pm.
Margie (NZ): Well done Jake. His workmates were very lucky Jake was around! What can we do to help Jake? What does he need? Just name it. Feb 23 at 7:34 pm.
Mark: Will see what can be done. After his restaurant rescue heroism, Jake skateboarded to Leah's school on quake afternoon to tell her he was OK, then he left. Leah's phoned him once since, but nix thereafter. Will try to contact him today. Cell network battling under the strain. Communication foggy at the mo. Crisis time. Feb 24 at 3:46 am.
Averil (RSA): Shame Mark, will be praying for you guys. Hugs to you all. Feb 24 at 3:55 am.
Mark: Averil. We need it. Think of the poor souls without water, like out of Africa, 80% of Christchurch without water supply, having to fetch it in containers from schools. We're OK, one of the few suburbs with running water. Must boil drinking water now, too much kak underground & in rivers now. Caught myself swallowing when brushing my teeth this morning. Everything's changed again. Feb 24 at 4:34 pm.
Averil (RSA): Shame Mark. Hectic! Feb 24 at 4:40 am.
Mark: Christchurch mayor Parker says on NZ Breakfast TV: 55 identified bodies; 20 unidentified bodies; 300 missing. Feb 23 at 9:39 am.
Cassidy (Aus): That's terrible. Feb 23 at 9:39 am.
Averil (RSA): Have the aftershocks settled? Can't believe what you guys are going though. Heart is with you all. Is Christchurch the only area that's been affected? Feb 23 at 12:36 pm.
Mark: Lyttelton also Averil. Port bldgs badly damaged too, same as Christchurch. 23 Feb at 12:47 pm.
Mark: Horror story Cassidy, dusty injured people being pulled from rubble. Feb 23 at 1:06 pm.
Mark: 75 confirmed dead.
80% of Christchurch has no water supply. Emergency water got from schools.
50% of Christchurch power still off, mainly east of CBD, due to underground cables.
Supermarkets & garages opening after safety checking.
Lots of road & liquefaction damage. (Breakfast TV). Feb 23 at 12.58 pm.
Vaughan (RSA): Thinking of you & praying for u guys. Feb 23 at 4:30 pm.
Mark: Vaughan. Going well now that reality is setting in, huge mopping up, cleaning & rebuild needed in Christchurch. Regards to all. Feb 24 at 3.42 am.
Andrew (RSA): Hope you guys are OK and that the quake has not caused you too much hardship. Keep in touch and regards to your family. Feb 24 at 4:58 am.
Mark: Andrew. We got off lightly. Sept 4 quake a dummy run for the big quake 22.02.11. Our water OK, power OK, toilet dodgy, now must find a petrol station & supermarket open. Think our good luck comes from all the positive vibes from Facebook. Others were not so lucky. Go well. Feb 24 at 5:16 am.
Mark: PM Key: Early estimate of quake cost to NZ $ 6 billion.
Declared National State of Emergency so govt can mobilize "all necessary resources." (Breakfast TV). Feb 23 at 1:01 pm.
Brian (RSA): Are you OK? Feb 23 at 2:52 pm.
Mark: All OK Brian, no sleep last night, shaken to bits, but surviving, repetition of 1st night's shaking of the Sept 4 quake - little sleep, wild images racing through my mind. Others a lot worse off, we just happened to pick a good suburb to live in, fluke. Heard on TV news the National State of Emergency is a first for NZ. Expat deja vu. Feb 23 at 3.44 pm.
Brian (RSA): Thinking of you all. Friend of mine's son lives in Christchurch. Lost everything, but family OK. Feb 23 at 3:46 pm.
John (RSA): Good to hear that you are all OK. I have a cousin in Christchurch and fortunately they are also OK. However home suffered damage along with kids' school, fortunately all the children were out on the playing field at the time of the quake.
It is understandable that brick buildings break up in a quake such as this but it is terrible to see how some of the modern buildings have pancaked despite NZ strict earthquake building codes. I hope lessons are learnt from this disaster which can reduce future loss of life not only in NZ but in other parts of the world. Feb 23 at 4:52 pm.
Margie (NZ): Relieved you are all well. Hope Leah's received my texts although I know coverage is sporadic. Our home is yours if you all need to get away - Sons & girlfriends, you and Leah - we all have enough beds to have you if you guys need to get away from it all for a while. If there is any way we can help, please let us know. Feb 23 at 7:28 pm.
Travers (RSA): Hectic. Stay safe! Feb 23 at 8.47 pm.
Mark: Brian & John. Sorry to hear about your friend & family's quake woes. Great sorrow in Christchurch now, close to tears all the while. People dead. Agree John about bricks & mod bldgs. Architects, designers will have to rethink thoroughly. Lessons learnt hopefully. Feb 24 at 3.37 am.
Mark: Margie. Will check if Leah got your text, she was battling to text Jake & Luke yesterday, phone networks jammed. Beds OK. Will contact in due course. Feb 24 at 3:39 am.
Mark: Travers. Picking our way carefully now, more rational today after a good kip. Feb 24 at 3:40 am.
Sean (NZ): Good to see you're still in one piece. Feb 23 at 1:39 pm.
Mark: So long as it stays one piece Sean. Funny how it's so quiet up north. Hope it doesn't creep north. Feb 23 at 3:47 pm.
June (RSA): Spoke to Leah earlier, while you were having a rest. Glad we can communicate by phone. Our thoughts and prayers with you guys. Feb 23 at 6:36 pm.
Mark: June. Couldn't sleep the first night after the afternoon quake, too many 4+ mag aftershocks jumping us around in our bed, so I got up about 4 am, then watched TV all day as scenes unfolded with destruction of the CBD.
Many bldgs I'd coolpixed since the Sept 4 quake now collapsed. National State of Emergency - so it'll be a while before I can go into the CBD, lots of cops & troops about, anyone in the CBD, unauthorised, will be arrested. TV showed two men on bicycles yesterday, trying to find a trapped wife in the CBD, turned away by a female cop at the cordon. Witch!
I drove [10 kms during aftershocks] to Leah's school within an hour of the quake. It was a time when most of the city was fetching kids from schools (now all closed), gridlocked roads, as there was so much destruction to roads, buckling, ripping, water & liquefaction mud everywhere.
[Most high schools were closed on Feb 22 quake afternoon, as unionised high school teachers were having a wage negotiation meeting, letting loose 1000s of high school students in the city on quake day].
Parents with kids dodged running water along roads, serious looks on faces. No traffic lights working, so chaos at crossings. Only one robot [traffic light] working at Greers Rd near home. Our Burnside suburb got off lightly.
Leah's school: Quake afternoon aftershocks ongoing, jolts in our feet when shaking, everyone in a state of shock. Waited at Leah's school some hours till all kids left with parents, but took pics of all the muddy, liquefaction damage at the school & a couple of blocks around.
Leah drove her car behind mine & we drove tandem through chaos back home to Burnside. Had to turn back on Barbadoes St - flooded. [Still see the terrified look of the woman driver behind Leah's car, flapping her hands in panic, as we turned. She couldn't understand why we weren't fording flooded Barbadoes St]. Some cars made it across, like a river ford.
We found our way back the way I'd come [along quake damaged Madras St, Forfars St, Severn St... all flooded, liquefaction muddied, sink holed, lumpy & bumpy - a hell drive].
After watching constant TV reruns of people being pulled out of bldgs & collapsed bldgs, I crashed on our lounge carpet the 2nd night after the quake. Now up about 5 am, revived. Leah kipping.
Jake flooded out of his flat, a wreck. Will try to get clothes to him today. Impossible yesterday, garages closed, no petrol. I refused to join a queue at Clyde Rd garage. All garages & supermarkets closed, have to be safety checked before reopening. At our closed Wairakei Rd supermarket, we looked through windows a few hours after the quake - all aisles strewn with flung products.
Will try & get hold of Luke at New Brighton by the sea, with girlfriend & folks. Not happy about him being there, thinking tsunami danger. All it needs is a sea quake to cause more water hell. Lyttelton Port was close enough, where the quake epicentre was. Feb 24 at 3:29 am.
June (RSA): I don't think things will be the same again. Hope you get Luke with you soon. I agree rather have him home with you. You have enough to deal with. Our thoughts & prayers are with you. Many people are praying for all of you going through such devastation. Am keeping a watch on the internet to keep up with developments. Not much on our normal news channel. Take care. Lots of love and hugs. Wish we could be close to you. Feb 24 at 3:41 am.
Mark: June. Nice to have so many guardian angels looking out for us. Feb 24 at 4:25 am.
Fritz (RSA): Nice pic of u in our local evening newspaper - front page. Good story from Mike of the Daily News [Durban]. Not a nice situation u guys are in. Feb 24 at 4:24 am.
Mark: Fritz. Good on Mike. Haven't seen the article yet. Mike suggested a composite of my Facebook comments, plus I sent him a piece of my trek to Leah's school over chaotic, destroyed Christchurch roads, shortly after the quake, to her muddy, liquefactioned school. The trek back home was more chaotic, with Leah driving her liquefaction muddied car behind, dodging sinkholes, mud & flooded roads, most of the way home. Feb 24 at 4:24 am.
June (RSA): This is the first time our family has made front page news! I bought the Daily News this afternoon and am keeping it for mom to see tomorrow. I am sure she wants to see her daughter's name on the front page of the newspaper. Look after yourselves. Feb 24 at 3:48 am.
Mark: June. Quake death toll 75, yesterday's NZTV news. Please keep the Daily News article for us. Haven't seen it yet, with all the chaos in Chch. Our bit of fame in the cloudy fog of Chch, now getting out at last to Durban. Feb 24 at 3.55 am.
June (RSA): Have just emailed the article with picture. Feb 24 at 5:50 am.
Mark: Brilliant job done on the email June. Thanks. Family very impressed. Viva Mike & Daily News. Got an email from a Durban friend I haven't heard from for years re the D. News article. Viva Facebook. Feb 24 at 2:42 pm.
Lynelle (RSA): Wonderful speaking to Leah for 1.5 hours. I hope that now you are famous it wont go to your head and that you will have time for us mortals. Feb 24 at 8:04 am.
Mark: Battling to upload pics on the internet, dunno if it's me, quake, or both. Will stop till things calm down. Feb 24 at 5:13 am.
Mark: 76 dead (numbers varying, depending on who's counting).
22 dead Christchurch Cathedral [false, media hype, rubbish cathedral toll quoted for days].
431 in hospital, 164 serious injuries.
Huge damage in Chch CBD (NZTV news). Feb 24 at 10.00 am.
Luke (UK): Thinking of you guys. An experience / tragedy like yours certainly puts things in perspective. Feb 24 at 12:36 pm.
Mark: Sure does Luke. Just heard of a friend of Jake's who perished in the quake. Feb 24 at 12:59 pm.
Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.