– Bexley, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I had just gone upstairs to have lunch and enjoy the sun. A few seconds after I sat down there was this horrific noise, it sounded as though ten jack hammers were breaking up the house. Terrified I leapt off the couch, my dinner shot across the room. The house was shaking violetly. I tried to grab hold of the banisters as I couldnt I stand up. Not thinking , and desperatly wanting to get outside I opened up the ranch slider and stepped onto the balcony , realising what I had done and that the balcony could suddenly dissapear from under me I ran back inside and fled down the stairs tripping over items that had fallen and made my way outside.

The artesian well by the back-door had burst through the ground and was shunting out water at a great rate. it was three days before anyone could shut it off. After-shocks kept coming thick and fast. Hysterical I made my made my way through the water and onto the grass ,it was then I realised my home had sunken even more than the September quake. I was thank-ful no one was in the porta-loo as it lay almost flat on its back.

With the flooding from the Bexley area and the atesian well the water levels were slowly rising . I knew It wouldnt be long before It would enter my home. I could do nothing.

Terrified to go back inside Numb and in shock I sat on the front lawn while my son placed planks against the entrance so he could get inside and gather up some items. An after-shock hit causing a sewer pipe to burst in the front lawn and out bubbled the sewage. and joined the water that was now flowing into my home.

I knew then that the thirty years in our home was all over . We lost everything .

I will never forget the looks of despair as mothers waded through the water desperate to get to schools and fetch their kiddies. I couldnt help them. An elderly lady who had perming rods still in her hair wandered helplessly, wondering how to get home until a neighbour took her in.

It was 4 hours until I heard from my eldest son and his partner. Then we packed up our cars with what we could and left our home and community behind. A day I will never forget.

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