– Orange zone Aranui, Canterbury, New Zealand

The Christchurch earthquakes are the worst things that have ever happened to me and my family. I’m sure they have foreshortened all our lifespans – 80 year old father is convinced he is going to die, as I write. The September one happened 6 weeks after we moved into our house in Aranui. My cats ran out the cat door, there was roar, and then lots of shaking. But there wasn’t much damage that time, and we got water after 5 days, so that was no big deal for our family – an adventure, really.

February 22 was altogether more sinister – for many families, even more so than ours. I had had an unpleasant meeting with an unpleasant person that morning. She zapped the energy out of me so much that I didn’t go to town like I planned. I wish I had, and then I’d be dead now, and not living this nightmare. This Feb earthquake felt like we were in a washing machine, and yet the house only got surface cracks – I wish it had been a write-off so we didn’t have to live in it. Lots of vases, crockery, plates, the toilet and the gate were broken. My father was at the Avondale Golf Course, and got flung onto the ground – that is why he is so sick now. We had no water for 23 days and no power for 12 days, and felt abandoned.

My health (I am 44) has gone badly downhill, so I can no longer cope with this property. The trouble is, we are orange zoned, and worried it will stay that way for many months, even over a year, according to the latest news reports. If it is green, it could be unsellable – I wish we could go into the red zone so we can buy a nice little unit near shops and things – in the Sydenham region, where we used to be. I can not escape this hell, as I part-own this place (which has become my nightmare) with my parents. No accommodation supplement, no nothing. I’d like to know who will help me with my shopping and this unruly section,and protect me from the ferals around here, as our nice neighbours had to move out, due to their houses being badly damaged. The authorities have only seen my parents.

As I said, I wish I’d died on Feb 22. If that sounds wicked, too bad. Incidentally, why isn’t June 13 counted as an earthquake – we had liquefaction then, and 10 new potholes in our street. Which is why I was gobsmacked when we were only made orange. We will just wait for CERA now, and I will wait for Lifelinks to help me, which could take some time….

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