– Sumner, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I was in my office at home in Sumner on the 22nd February, sat at my desk planning what to have for lunch. The earthquake struck and instinct took over; forget drop and cover, I ran out the house. Within seconds I found myself huddled against the retaining wall in my back garden, listening to the sounds of walls collapsing, breaking glass and the ominous boom, boom, boom as huge boulders came bouncing down the hillsides around me.

After the incredible noise, silence. Deafening silence, no birds, no movement. Then a call from a neighbour, “is everyone OK?” and people came out of their homes and met in the street. All my immediate neighbours were at home. It made it easier to have people around as the aftershocks continued and more boulders came down both sides of the valley.

As we all stood there, 2 cyclists screamed down our road, “The tide’s gone out! Tsunami” That was it, we all ran, up the hillside, one eye on the sea, one eye on the rocks above. After climbing high enough to see the sea, it was obvious there was no tsunami approaching, the guys had just panicked when seeing an unusually low tide. My neighbour’s 9 year old boy was in tears. His mum was in Christchurch and not answering her phone.

Back home. It was a mess. I rescued my emergency kit and sat in the back garden and waited for inspiration.
What do I do now?

6 months later and I’ve been staying in a friends spare room. My badly damaged home is still red stickered due to rockfall danger. I’m in the white zone with no timelines for answers to anything.
I’m still waiting.
What do I do now?

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