Wednesday, February 23, 2011

seaside town goes slipside

here's where yesterday's christchurch/lyttleton earthquake struck. to get a sense of the ongoing physical rollercoaster cantabrians are experiencing, go here & change the settings to the last 24 hours of the earthquake which struck at 12:51 [NZDT] on February 22, 2010. something akin to being in a cocktail shaker. on auto acceleration.

photo: copyright the press

photo: copyright associated press

above are current photos gleaned from the interwebs of canterbury seaside suburb brighton [south & new] after the 6.3 christchurch earthquake yesterday. 

 photo: new brighton beach copyright juneh via webshots

this is where my nana nora lives in new zealand. childhood walks to the beach to be invigoratingly dumped by merciless waves onto endless straights of biting sand with my grandfather, coupled with obsessive sea shell collection & racing back to the house for the best pavlova ever pervade early consciousness.

i would deliver elaborately scripted performances with my sister to emotionally coerced relatives & undertake table tennis tournaments at christmas, & escape from the dullness of parental control with walks across the road to the domain [where later i had an epic & somewhat infamous magic mushroom patch]. these are all fond memories. thankfully i have since heard that our grandmother is OK & was rescued by nearby relations.

liquefaction is particularly bad in this area & also in that of nearby bexley. liquefaction as seen in the christchurch september 04, 2010 earthquake is the result of massive shaking & separation of particles and water in the earth. it is a major contributing factor to ongoing damage during & post tremors. eye witnesses have described mini geysers which open up through the earth, erupt and pour an endless sea of stinking liquid mud.

UPDATE: liquefaction now threatens the very stability of the hotel grand chancellor, christchurch's tallest hotel which visibly moved three metres earlier today on an angled slump as it began to sink. it lies within the cordoned off area adjacent to the pancaked CTV building. this further complicates the rescue effort.

photo: cnr manchester & high street - copyright martin hunter/getty images

i have since heard that my close friends & family have survived this quake. at least physically. one of my oldest friend's who i had grave concerns for & spent the day feeling physically ill about knowing he was most likely at a pre-existing red-stickered [declared unstable > 2010 earthquake] zone in ground zero [high street shops] texted me last night:

 photo: embassy on high street >2010 quake - copyright destination shopping christchurch NZ

"I'm alive. Very close call. The building I was in collapsed. Had to climb down tree."

there's always a flipside. so many stories of horror & trauma are balanced with miraculous tales which reinforce the power of survival & freedom of spirit. what does matter are not the historic buildings, pathways or the crippling economics but the preservation of identity & ability to go on. to survive and evolve. theoretically the spirit of the people will rise. it's amazing what hardship humanity can endure.

 photo: copyright @samsuth1 on twitpic

may the universe protect those who lie still trapped today in pancaked spaces and impossible voids; especially those in the CTV,  pyne gould guinness, the cathedral, & other crumpled buildings. may you be rescued in time.

for those seeking loved ones google has set up a people finder.

love and light to all.


  1. 21:45 NZST WED 23 UPDATE:
    Searchers have flood-lit the CTV site and brought in a digger and more than 20 rescue staff to the still-smoking ruins, despite police earlier saying the destruction was not survivable.

    Earlier, what appeared to be sniffer dogs were seen being led over the pile of rubble though they returned empty-handed soon after.



    The pile where the building used to stand on the corner of Madras and Cashel is still smoldering with large plumes of smoke billowing from it all afternoon.

    A large piece of the building still stands unsupported on its northern side and officials are worried it could fall.

    Police had earlier said more than 100 people may have been lost in the CTV building and the devastation is not survivable so they were concentrating on recovery rather than rescue.

    The building housed an English language school as well as TV studios.