– Christchurch Central and Woolston, Canterbury, New Zealand

On Feb 22nd my sister and I, both working in the city, tried to find each other. Her husband was in the North Island working. We eventually did find each other and met on the corner of Barbadoes St and Ferry Road, hugging and crying. There was smoke and dust in the air and people were running in all directions. She’d abandoned her car but luckily mine was nearby and we made our way down Ferry Road to pick up her daughter from child care. Ferry Road was oozing silt, full of holes and bumps, and people with panic written all over them trying to get home.

We picked up Rosie and then headed to their place to see the damage and start cleaning up, especially the glass, in preparation for her son coming home. He’s a special needs child you see, and he and broken glass don’t go too well together. He’s usually home just after three, brought home in a taxi. By four he wasn’t home. By five he wasn’t home. By six we were feeling pretty desperate so I decided to drive to Merivale to try and find him. He’s 10. He doesn’t speak. He gets hungry. We knew he was OK from an early text from the school but communications after that were so difficult. I don’t really know how I got to Merivale but I did. Huh! He had just been put in a taxi a few minutes before I arrived which was now 7pm. When I got back to my sister’s there was my little family bundled up together on the couch. We dragged the mattresses and bedding into the lounge and all slept together for the night… of course there was no sleep, the house rattled and rolled for hours. But we were safe.

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