Skip to main content

CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE 22 FEBRUARY 2011




It has been a terrifying ordeal.

I am drained physically, emotionally and mentally.

When the quake hit, I was 5 floors up, in a building right at the heart of Christchurch.

It started as any normal aftershock would, with the familiar roaring sound of the very earth moving beneath us. After 2 seconds I realised it was no normal aftershock, as the familiar rumbling turned to violent shaking. 

I was thrown off my feet, and landed on my knees. Computer monitors toppled everywhere. The shaking seemed to engulf the world, and my mind almost went blank. I remember falling down. I remember clambering under a table with Bronwyn, my boss. I remember a short respite where as I slowly stood up, I looked out the window and all I saw was smoke and dust, like a bomb had gone off in the middle of the city.

My mind still had trouble trying to take everything in. Aftershocks I can take with relative ease... A full-on earthquake.. with me smack bang in the middle of it all... Now that's a totally different story.

I come to my senses as someone barges in through the door and calls everyone to evacuate the building.

We comply.

Everything is a haze as I step onto the street. People are wandering like lifeless shells, not knowing where to go, everyone's faces pale in shock of the enormity at what lay before them - utter devastation of what was a vibrant city just minutes before.

I call my wife, and breathe a sigh of relief as she tells me she and the children are OK, uninjured and taking refuge under the table. I am proud of them.

My mind tells me to find a place to take refuge, at least until the worst of the onslaught is over. I go to Victoria Square, a green patch in the middle of town, away from the collapsing structures around us.

People are everywhere. Some are crying. Some are comforting one another. Others make jokes, trying to lighten the mood, though nothing can take away to impending sense of danger that is running rampant on everybody's mind.

My heart jumps as the ground rumbles from below and I know that an aftershock is imminent.

The earth shakes and buildings start crumbling even more.

My eyes are wide with fear.

After half an hour, or it could have been 15 minutes or an hour.. time seemed to cease to exist and I felt like I was in a bubble that was distanced from reality.

I knew I had to make my way home.

So I got up, and waded through the liquefaction and sewage, my feet becoming wetter and and wetter, as the water gushed through the gaping hole in right shoe. I have no choice but to soldier on. I walk to my car... and as I walk beside the river Avon I see shattered windows and crumbled walls... until I see something that astounds my already battered senses - a high-rise building totally in ruins. I can't help but think about how many people were in the building when the earthquake hit.

I reach the car, and breathe a sigh of relief. Still intact, with all the surrounding cars crushed by bricks. My only task - clear a path through the rubble - by hand.

I do.

It takes me 2 hours to drive through the city, back home to my wife and children.

I reach home, and find them under the table.. safe and sound.

Pray for us.

Comments

A RAY OF HOPE said…
It's good to see you're safe, it must be horrible to be in the middle of it all!!
Cat-in-Sydney said…
Oh dear! We heard about the quake but never thought it's very bad this time. So glad to know that you're OK. I always remember Christchurch as an elegant and beautiful city, so serene and peaceful. And I'd like to remember it as such. I pray for no more earthquakes. You take care, mate. purrrr....meow!
Jordan said…
Wow, glad you're ok man.
Gukita said…
ALLAAHUAKBAR...
ALHAMDULILLAH

That was one nasty experience you had there Bang, and I'm sure will make you all the wiser. The experence is immensely valuable.. You will have a living comparison of how they handle catastrophe there, how they take it, how they respond, how they comfort, how they mitigate the after effects....
Ailin Abdullah said…
Glad you are okay Lobo!

Popular posts from this blog

My first fast food experience ever

Growing up in the UK in the late 70s and 80s, it was almost impossible to get fast food that was halal. Definitely not like what it is today.

Back in the day, we lived in many different places when I was growing up, but I consider Bath to be my where I struck my roots.

As a kid you don’t really remember many things that were not within your immediate scope of experience. Everything was taken care of by your parents, and that is something I have go to remember again with my own children. Sometimes I expect them to be aware more of what is going on around them, but when I remember my own childhood, all we knew was we did what our parents told us, moved where they moved, went where they went etc.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Back to what I was saying, It was literally impossible to get fast food, and all we could do was just imagine how the burgers would taste. Fries or chips was not too much of an issue because we were able to eat Fish and Chips, especially from Evans in the middle of town af…

Aku, Bini dan Ginger Beer

Aku haus...

Tekakku yang kering ini menginginkan rasanya yang menenangkan jiwa itu...

Perasaannya apabila ku menggenggam botol kacanya yang sejuk dan berwap-wap dan mengangkatnya keluar peti ais kecilku, perasaannya seperti seorang kanak-kanak Taman Keramat memegang aiskrim Malaysia 10sen pada hari yang panas membara...

Riang... Nikmat... Penantian yang menyiksakan, tetapi penantian yang lazat...

Dengan pergerakan yang perlahan seperti 'slow-motion' dalam sinetron Indonesia kegemaran surirumah-surirumah di Malaysia, muncung botol Ginger Beer kegemaranku mampir bibirku yang terketar-ketar sedikit, sehinggalah aku dapat rasa cecair yang sejuk membasahi tekakku...

Nikmat...

Sedap tidak terperi...

Aku menghulurkan kepada biniku, dan dia juga meneguk kenikmatan...

Aku menadah tangan meminta kembali Ginger Beer kesayanganku yang berjenama Bundaberg buatan New Zealand.

Saat itu tidak tiba-tiba...

Aku tertanya-tanya... Mata terkebil-kebil...

"Ni saya punya ya Bang..." ujar …

The Ones That Got Away : The sign

I couldn't believe it!

I actually managed to pass my Chemistry Finals!!! All the blood, sweat and tears that went into trying to understand my most hated subject finally paid off...
I held the result slip in my hand, not daring to let go... As if letting go would mean that I would let go of the pass that I had obtained.

I smiled.

We both knew we would finally be where we dreamed of the entire time we were in school... University. That magical place where dreams would be made into reality. That place where we could become all that we wanted to become... To start our journeys into adulthood, into the real world.

And so when we got our offer letters, it was with mixed feelings that I said goodbye to her... Part of me was sad because it meant going our separate ways, but part of me was excited to start a new chapter in my life... I guess it didn't make a difference back then, because I knew that in my heart of hearts, we would be together in the end, no matter how long or winding the r…