– Burwood, Canterbury, New Zealand

Little did we know that the September 4th quake was just a practice run. The one where we realised Christchurch was not as safe as we had all thought. Naive in hindsight and the knowledge that this was already known by those who should have taken action earlier to protect the buildings and houses and people has been hard to accept. We had no idea what was to come.

Being dragged awake at dawn almost a year ago by a train noise entering the house was terrifying; being thrown to the ground in my fourth floor office at lunchtime even more so, but I still feel lucky that I wasn’t in many of the other places in the city that caused so many deaths. It is still hard to visit some of the streets, knowing people lost their lives there. The hardest part for me was returning to work on the fourth floor.

I hope that wherever you live, you realise how isolated we were without power and water, damaged roads, no sewage, scarce petrol and gas. How little it took to ensure we had light, a radio, spare batteries, food, clean water and access to cars to charge cellphones when we could text again. The infuriating fact that the whole country knew more about what was happening in full colour than we did and the horror when we eventually made it somewhere with television! I hope you can look round where you are now and feel some security that you will be ready when it happens.

Although I mainly write about animals, I have also been blogging about the earthquakes since September. I wrote this entry from my phone after February’s….

Terrifying day after a shallow violent quake at lunchtime. Numerous aftershocks already. Office trashed. Was thrown from my chair while books piled on top of me and light fittings fell. Crawled under desk and had to lift filing cabinets off door to escape, grabbing bags as I went. Poppy was with my friend on stairs, safe. Scott drove to work. He was still in bed!!!! We have left my car at work and crawled home through floods, mud, gridlock. Living hell. House is a mess but Alex has cleaned up breakages…. Liveable. Pot on stove boiling. No power water toilets… Looking for candles!!!

Can’t phone my parents. Worry, stress, fear. People are dead or trapped. Kids all ok. Thankful for being here, home, safe. Hope others are ok too

If you click on the earthquake label on the left of the blog, you can pull up all the earthquake posts right back to September.

I still love Christchurch. As I see the deconstruction happening all around my work, the large gaps appearing everywhere, I just hope we get to see something positive come out in good time. In the meantime, the support of the people from within the city has been amazing, and the flood of support from those in New Zealand and overseas has been humbling. Thank you all.

My thoughts for all those who lost friends and family, who are living with the uncertainty of the zones, who have been made redundant, and for all of us facing a different future.

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