– Riccarton Mall, Riccarton Road, Canterbury, New Zealand

During the February earthquake, I was with my two friends shopping in Riccarton Mall. On a normal Tuesday, we would still be at school until 3.30 but this time we had finished school at around 12 pm. My friends and I had just bought movie tickets and we were heading down to Pack’n’Save to get some food. On the way, being three teenage girls, we stopped into Diva to look at jewelry. Suddenly the ground was shuddering. Next thing, I looked up and saw the cashier’s desk and the floor underneath it rolled towards me. As the shaking got more and more violent, my friends dragged me out of the store and we cowered beside one of those plastic commerical things just outside Diva. There was an advertisement car parked only about ten metres away from us. It was severley rocking back and forth but thankfully tied down with chains. The whole place was echoing with screams.

After the violent shaking had stopped we ran out an emergency exit and stood in the car park. We stood there shaking, not knowing what to do next. Everyone was huddled in little groups, some crying, some shaking with fear. Many people asked if we were ok, concerned on how we were to get home. The three of us headed down a side street. We were walking around a corner by a large brick wall and heaps of trees when the second violent quake hit. There were plenty of cracks on all the roads and puddles of liquefaction and sewage everywhere you looked.

We walked past our school on the way back to the boarding house and saw liquefaction all over the sports field and surrounding the building. A lot of teachers were outside, they made sure we were all ok and that it was ok to go back to the hostel. The three of us continued on our journey home. We were about to go across the bridge to Carlton Mill Road when we noticed it was about one metre higher than it was this morning when crossed it to get to school. We ran across anyway as it was the only way to get home. As we walked down Carlton Mill Road, we had to dodge past puddles of sewage and swerve around liquefaction. But 15 minutes later we finally got back to the boarding house, and for once we were actually excited about it.

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