– Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

24 February (Day 3) I think it was Wednesday night/Thursday morning around 130am when my cousin called. It was good to hear her voice, and to be able to get a direct message out to everyone. At work, our computer system blocks all online email sites, and at that time I don’t think I’d had time to think about posting to my blog. I’d asked a nephew to drop a line on Facebook, and asked a cousin to do so as well.

Exhausted, we slept better this night, but still not well. I slightly overslept my intended wake-up time the next morning, and didn’t get out of the house til well after 730am. Sure enough, it seemed half the city had also awakened ‘early’ in order to get to the petrol pumps, and the lines stretched for blocks. I continued on toward work, now truly concerned that I would have to wait in line for hours to get petrol, as I had only enough fuel to possibly get back home. Nearing work, I found another newly-opened petrol station, however, and was able to slide into line.

I was only about 15th or 20th in line. Success!

Still took forever to get to the pump. Although the radio has repeated messages against panic-buying, it seems noone is listening. I truly needed petrol; it is doubtful that everyone buying it was in as much need. Many stations reported selling 4x their normal volume each day, and it was a struggle for incoming tankers to keep the tanks full. Some stations resorted to selling petrol only to emergency vehicles, to allow them a place to buy fuel without long waits.

My husband had stayed home again, in order to keep cleaning the huge mess. Again, I had hoped to get away early, but ended up working til around 3pm, from memory. Some of that time was spent with a staff member at the grocery store, buying a few easy-to-prepare meals such as instant potatoes, some fruit, a few drinks, bread, etc. Ice was already an impossibility. We had no idea how we would keep things cold at home; our only option would be to keep things at work and take them home each day, or possibly even cook at work and take it home.

At the grocery store, some shelves were already emptying. Again, people were panic-buying. I only bought enough for a couple days, but some were buying enough food to last a couple weeks or more. Having lived through this before, you know if you don’t get your bit, someone else will, so it’s hard to resist buying a bit more than you need.

Our evening was again spent listening to the radio, hearing reports of water tank deliveries, portaloo drop-offs, requests and offers for help, rising body counts, closed roads, etc. Whereas after September most services were open within a couple days, this time it seemed it would be at least Monday before things such as banks, etc. opened. Although the local newspaper, The Press, has been delivered most (or all) days, the mail has not yet resumed.

I went to bed early this night, as I was freezing cold, no doubt made worse by my level of weariness.

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