Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shaken and Shocked, 22.02.11, mag 6.3 Christchurch Quake

Images, quake damaged Wairakei Rd:

22.02.11. Liquefaction damaged Wairakei Rd, nr Ilam Rd cnr

National State of Emergency, 22.02.11 Christchurch quake. After his request about my quake feelings, I Facebooked this Shaken & Shocked article to a Northlands Boys High School buddy, journalist at Durban's Daily News. He asked if he could composite some of my Facebook comments too. I agreed. It made Daily News front page:

22.02.11. Quake damaged Wairakei Rd, nr Ilam Rd cnr

"My family and I survived the 22.02.11 quake with many aftershocks, a more destructive quake than the Sept 4 quake, as Lyttelton epicentre was closer to Christchurch and quake intensity was greater. People died, people were trapped in collapsed buildings, rescuers worked hard to save them."

Images, quake damaged Heaton St, Innes Rd, Severn St & Westminster St:

22.02.11. Liquefactioned Heaton St, parents fetching kids from quake closed school

22.02.11. Liquefactioned Innes Rd

"12:51. Home alone I thought, 'Not again!' I stood by our front door, ready to escape if our house collapsed. The house jolted and shook, enough to destroy me and my adopted city. I watched our neighbour's trees dance. Shaken and shocked, I trembled."

22.02.11. Liquefactioned cnr Innes Rd & Severn St

22.02.11. Liquefactioned Severn St

"'Stay calm!' I thought while I checked our house and cleaned up. Our Burnside suburb got off lightly, the rest of Christchurch messed."

22.02.11. Liquefactioned cnr Severn St / Westminster St

"I texted my sons, both OK. Jake's restaurant had collapsed while he was outside drinking coffee." [Jake pulled people out of the collapsed restaurant. Kept his job, briefly, when the restaurant was rebuilt].

Images, quake damaged Madras St:

22.02.11. Liquefactioned, flooded, sink holed Madras St between Westminster St & Bealey Ave crossings

22.02.11. EQC man directing gridlocked traffic, Bealey Ave / Madras St crossing

22.02.11. Gridlocked traffic on quake damaged Bealey Ave & texting girl, cnr Bealey Ave / Madras St. Texting was the only reliable contact the first few hours after the quake. Email & phone lines were jammed.

22.02.22. Cop, tourists, business people fleeing quake trashed CBD, cnr Bealey Ave / Madras St. Any vehicle traffic on quaked roads trashed unstable roads more

"I drove along broken, flooded roads to my wife's school, London St, to help. Cars weaved on gridlocked roads."

Images, quake damaged Bealey Ave:

22.02.11. Gridlocked Bealey Ave traffic while aftershocks jolted cars

22.02.11. People outside bldgs, safest place, while aftershocks continued, Bealey Ave

"I passed broken houses, collapsed garden walls, bricks flung about, broken robots [traffic lights], grey liquefaction mud and water pouring from roads and gardens."

Images, quake damaged Bealey Ave / London St / Whitmore St / Fitzgerald Ave crossing:

22.02.11. Liquefactioned Whitmore St / Bealey Ave / Fitzgerald Ave / London St crossing & beginnings of a cordon by Fitzgerald Ave. In later national state of emergency days, cops & NZDF soldiers crawled all over the crossing, including a LAV

Images, quake damaged London St:

22.02.11. Liquefactioned, flooded London St

"On Bealey Ave where a water main had burst, during an aftershock my car bounced by a sink hole. I feared it was my grave. An Asian woman in the next car looked scared. I laughed while bumping along."

22.02.11. Liquefactioned Seabrook McKenzie Centre, London St. Liquefactioned in the June 13 quake too.

22.02.11. Staff & parents, Seabrook McKenzie Centre. Kindy & Primary school teachers in Christchurch were heroes, waiting for hours for kids to be picked up by parents. Shame on high school teachers that quake day, on pay strike, 1 000s of high school kids let loose in quaked Christchurch

"School staff waited for parents to pick up kids. The school was surrounded by liquefaction: obscene, grey, mud volcanoes, oozing grey silt and water in the car park and playground, cold water boiling from last night's rain."

Images, quake damaged Pavitt St, Alexandra St & Fitzgerald Ave:

22.02.11. Liquefactioned, flooded Pavitt St

"My wife said her 6-9 year old pupils had dived under their desks, as trained. Some trembled, some wept, some froze - numb. Her car was stuck in liquefaction silt.

I wandered stricken Richmond neighbourhood, while cops and Civil Defence directed traffic past road cordons. A brick wall had peeled off Richmond Working Mens Club, with rubble by a mud stuck car. Mud oozed in parks and cracked roads.

I wandered wasted roads, with numb people sitting in soggy gardens, too scared to stay in their houses, aftershocks ongoing."

22.02.11. Quake damaged, concrete curb, Alexandra St

"That night I felt overwhelmed with jittery, nervous exhaustion, too vigilant to sleep. During aftershocks, I felt hysterical, spurts of anger, tearful, laughed like crazy, joked - till the next quake."

22.02.11. Liquefactioned, flooded Alexandra St

Pics note: All the unedited, quake pics were taken live, during the first 4 hours after the initial shock of the Feb 22 quake, during many powerful aftershocks, which jolted & shook my car, while I drove from Burnside along Wairakei Rd, Heaton St, Innes Rd, Severn St, Forfars Rd, Madras St, Bealey Ave. Distance I drove, Burnside - Richmond return, during the Feb 22 quakes was 20 km.

22.02.11. Liquefactioned, flooded Alexandra St

Due to the cop cordon by Fitzgerald Ave corner, I abandoned my car in Whitmore St & waded through liquefaction mud & flooding along London St to Leah's school.

Pics were taken live while aftershocks jolted & shook us while we stood in the school car park, waiting for parents to fetch school kids, & while walking around Richmond - London St, Pavitt St, Perth St, Alexandra St, Fitzgerald Ave, while liquefaction mud & water "boiled," bubbled & oozed from the soil, & while quake areas flooded, causing mud volcanoes & mud boils, found all over Christchurch post quake.

Bldgs were flooded & / or split by liquefaction mud. Roads were cracked, mounded, or buckled by liquefaction mud. Round the corner from Leah's school, Fitzgerald Ave's, north bound lane by Avon Loop collapsed in the Feb 22 quake. The collapsed, north bound lane took more than a year to rebuild. 

22.02.11. South bound, liquefactioned Fitzgerald Ave, already cordoned, nr Bealey Ave crossing. Bus was stopped, as collapsed north bound Fitzgerald Ave by Avon Loop was down the road

Buses stopped all over Christchurch during the quake. Luke had to abandon a quake jolted bus on Moorhouse Ave, while the quake continued, too dangerous in the CBD. Skateboarding along Moorhouse Ave, Luke was one of the first to see collapsed towers of the RC Cathedral, Barbadoes St. He didn't return home through the quake trashing CBD, during aftershocks. It took him 3 days to return home to Burnside, via South New Brighton.

22.02.11. Liquefactioned, flooded Fitzgerald Ave, nr Bealey Ave crossing

Grey water in my pics was not rain water after a rain storm, it was underground water forced up above the ground surface during quake liquefaction, which continued for hours after the quake during aftershocks, where intense shaking compacted soil particles, forcing ground water above the soil surface with destructive force.

Thousands of tons of underground silt was forced above ground during liquefaction, causing great destruction to roads & bldgs. It took Christchurch diggers months to remove liquefaction silt from roads & bldgs.

When winds blew, liquefaction silt dust in the streets became a health hazard. People wore masks to combat liquefaction dust on nor'wester days. After rains, liquefaction silt became mud in the streets again.

22.02.11. Cnr Bealey Ave / Fitzgerald Ave while aftershocks continued. Beginnings of a state of emergency cordon where Fitzgerald Ave was closed for weeks

CTV bldg note: While waiting at Leah's school there was a terrible burning smell in the air, which reminded us of a crematorium we'd driven past at Cato Manor, Durban, in the 1970s.

Later that quake afternoon we learnt the CTV bldg, corner Madras St & Cashel St, had collapsed & burned with people trapped inside. Couple of weeks later, TV reported that some human remains found at the CTV bldg collapse may never be identified.

Of the 115 killed by the CTV bldg collapse, 4 killed people were never identified in CTV rubble, fire so intense, their DNA wasn't found. A memorial garden at Avonhead Cemetery was made for CTV dead & missing.


Like post Sept 4 quake, Facebook was the only medium I could get messages out to family & friends. Our outbox had been down for months. Phone lines were jammed or down post Feb 22 quake.

Alan (USA): Mark please let us know that you are all OK. Feb 22 at 2:43 pm.

Maureen (RSA): Alan please keep us up to date. Aunty Dawn says you are in contact with them. Feb 22 at 5:20 pm.

Mark: Alan. All OK. I think you guys virtually know more about the quake than us here, due to power, phone & TV cuts for some hours. Drove to Leah's school an hour after the quake, after checking our house & tidying up mess. All roads I saw [10 km hell drive] were cracked, bumpy, oozing with water & liquefaction mud.

Jake's restaurant bldg collapsed while he was standing outside having a coffee break. No one injured. Feb 22 at 7:42 pm.

[Partly correct, the restaurant was shaken to hell, later demolished. A brick, side bldg collapsed next to Jake. He helped work mates escape rubble. Some customers were injured by flying glass].

Tracey (RSA): Hope you okay. Thinking of you all. Keep us updated x. Feb 22 at 3.55 pm.

Sue (RSA): Glad you ok Mark. Feb 22 at 8:09 pm.

Mark: Fine thanks Sue. Feb 22 at 8:09 pm.

Cassidy (Aus): Hope you guys are OK. Feb 22 at 4:14 pm.

Mark: All OK Cassidy. Still jittery though. Feb 22 at 7:33 pm.

Chris (Aus): Glad to hear you're all OK Mark. Feb 22 at 8:33 pm.

Mark: Breathing thanks Chris. Now to raid the left over Xmas cake. Brandy bottle half full still. Feb 22 at 8:58 pm.

Mary Anne (RSA): Mark, Leah and the boys... we are all thinking of you, have been trying to phone you. Feb 22 at 4:16 pm.

Alan (USA): Phones r still down and her cell is flat. I spoke to her earlier. They are all safe and OK. Feb 22 at 4:38 pm.

Mary Ann (RSA): Thanks Alan. Feb 22 at 4:44 pm.

Maureen (SA): Aunty Dawn says they are all fine. Alan spoke to them. Feb 22 at 5:16 pm.

Mark: Maureen. Trying to get everyone up to speed with the quaking here. We're OK, just a bit nervy at the mo. Think I'll go howl at the moon. Feb 22 at 8:35 pm.

John (RSA): Hope you and the family are OK. Thinking of you and the people of Christchurch. Feb 22 at 4:39 pm.

Mark: John. Esslemonts all OK, others fared much worse. We all need kind thoughts & prayers now. Feb 22 at 8:20 pm.

Leslye (RSA): Seen the news, too awful, are you ok? Feb 22 at 4:44 pm.

Mark: Esslemonts OK thanks Leslye, others not so. Feb 22 at 7:30 pm.

Averil (RSA): U guys OK? Feb 22 at 5:05 pm.

Mark: Averil we're OK, others not so. 65 confirmed dead, 200 trapped in collapsed bldgs, just heard friend trapped in a 7th floor lift. Search & Rescue teams working flat out. Feb 22 at 7:28 pm.

Averil (RSA) Hectic! Thoughts and prayers with you all. Feb 22 at 10:04 pm.

Sheila (RSA): Please try and get news to us. Hope you are all safe. xxx. Feb 22 at 5:18 pm.

Mark: Esslemonts OK Sheila, thank goodness, power, phones all down for a few hours this afternoon. We're the only suburb [Burnside] in the city with water. Leah says our computer's making a ghastly noise, so I'm getting in FB comments before everything packs up. Another aftershock while I type! Leah's been in phone contact with Alan, her mom & sister. Feb 22 at 7:26 pm.

Sheila (RSA): Thank you for letting us know Mark. Be safe. Feb 22 at 7:35 pm.

Crombie (USA): All the best for tough times. Feb 22 at 5:22 pm.

Mark (RSA): Hope you guys aren't affected too badly. Feb 22 at 7:20 pm.

Mark: Thanks guys. Going OK. Still running on adrenaline 8 hours after the big quake today. Feb 22 at 7:20 pm.

Linda (UK): Hope you, your family and friends are OK! xx. Feb 22 at 6:43 pm.

Mark: Family OK thanks Linda, dunno about friends, yet. Lots of surviving school parents & teachers seen this afternoon, all worried but OK. Feb 22 at 7:18 pm.

Zwelethu (RSA): Checking up on you guys. Hoping all is OK. Feb 22 at 6:44 pm.

Mark: We're OK Zwelethu thanks. Others not so lucky. Feb 22 at 7:17 pm.

Alan (UK): Things looking bad this time, you safe? Feb 22 at 6:53 pm.

Mark: Series of big Christchurch quakes today 22.02.11, from 12:51, then aftershocks all afternoon - evening ongoing. Esslemonts OK, sons with girlfriends. Leah & I having supper watching TV breaking news till 11 pm re the quake. CBD devastated, national state of emergency 5 days, schools closed. Worse than Sept 4 quake, epicentre Lyttelton. 65 confirmed dead, 200 trapped in collapsed bldgs. Feb 22 at 7:05 pm.

Keylim (RSA): Glad the family is OK, heard a snippet on the news earlier on my way to work. Sounds hectic. Feb 22 at 7:07 pm.

Mary Ann (RSA): Mark, thanks for the update, will try and phone Leah later. Feb 22 at 7:13 pm.

Mark: Still shaking Keylim. Feb 22 at 7:15 pm.

Mark: Ta Mary Ann. Phones are jammed. Texting recommended by Civil Defence. Feb 22 at 7:15 pm.

Mary Ann (RSA): We are keeping aunty Dawn up to date. Feb 22 at 7:22 pm.

Tracey (RSA): Thanks for the update Mark. May you and your family continue to be safe. Feb 22 at 7:24 pm.

Averil (RSA): So relieved to hear you are all OK. Feb 22 at 7:27 pm.

Mary Ann (RSA): An old school friend of mine will be trying to contact you shortly her name is ... she very kindly offered. Feb 22 at 7:29 pm.

Mike (RSA): Editor is very keen if you are happy to write something in the first person about how it felt. If you do, could you mail me a picture of yourself and / or wife and family. My mail address here at Daily News is ... Also just tell me about what year you left SA etc. You did go to both Chelsea Drive and Northlands did you not? Anyway let me know if you're keen. Feb 22 at 7:45 pm.

Mary Ann (RSA): Leah, thank you for phoning. Feb 22 at 7:59 pm.

Quentin (RSA): Glad you are all OK. God bless. Feb 22 at 8:00 pm.

David (UK): Stay safe Mark. Feb 22 at 8:01 pm.

Mark: Mike. Dunno about terror, bit numbed now, as we're becoming used to aftershocks, more than 4 500 since the Sept quake. [Moot number]. Son's restaurant bldg collapsed next to him while he was outside having a coffee break this afternoon, no one injured [some customers cut by glass] aftershocks ongoing, one jiggling the pc while I type. So death has touched us all.

Friend caught in a 7th floor lift, the stories will roll in soon. [Emigrated to Australia post quake]. 65 confirmed dead by Prime Minister John Key, 200 trapped in bldgs, aftershocks ongoing, Search & Rescue teams going flat out. State of emergency for next 5 days, so it's difficult to get into the CBD due to cop & military cordons, need to wait a bit before seeing what happened.

Civil Defence people & Earthquake Commission people were directing traffic at crossings, about an hour after the quake, much faster response than after the Sept 4 quake, as they've had several months practice. [For 10 kms] I drove through gridlock traffic, only one robot [traffic light] working, on a trip which usually takes 20 mins, took me an hour, to wife Leah's school, over wrecked roads - cracked, buckled, flooded, oozing with liquefaction mud.

One aftershock jiggled my car near a sink hole I knew had a burst water main during the Sept 4 quake [on Bealey Ave]. I held my breath, car bouncing, then laughed at an Asian woman in her car next to me, her face terrified. We all had nowhere to go, caught in gridlock, about 2 pm, as parents around the city were fetching kids from schools.

Today's 22.02.11 quake was more damaging than the Sept 4 quake, as the epicentre was closer at Lyttelton, about 10 kms away from Christchurch, Lyttelton tunnel closed. CBDs of Lyttelton & Christchurch badly damaged.

Will try & get something to you Mike, but our outbox is out of commission at the moment, so will try to message you via another's outbox. Now to give it some thought. Feb 22 at 8:12 pm.

Mike (RSA): Thanks Mark appreciate anything you can do, just about 300 words or so and if you can somehow mail a pic of yourself to my work address I gave you all the better. Even the following day would be good if you can't do it tonight your time. Good luck and praying for all of you. Feb 22 at 8:54 pm.

Mark: Quentin & David. Facebook comments calm my frazzled nerves, after all the horror scenes this afternoon. Feb 22 at 9.02 pm.

Leslye (RSA): Thanks for letting us know. Stay safe. Feb 22 at 9.14 pm.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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