News? Um… well, we’re still here, rocking and rolling with no sign the aftershocks are about to stop. (Last count: 1111 quakes since 4th September.)
A few days last week were almost quake-free – and I didn’t like it. Not that I’m enjoying the aftershocks – but the sudden lack of them was weird. Then, on Saturday night, a cluster of four significant aftershocks. My nerves twanged straight back up to high-stress mode. And, just like that, we’re back in QuakeZone. Weird as it sounds, it’s almost a relief to feel them on a regular basis because last week’s eery quiet reminded me of scary monsters waiting in the shadows.
Writing news? This week I’m working on submissions to editors, and adding to my current WIP. Busy, busy!
Twelve days on and we’re struggling to re-boot normality here in Christchurch, NZ.
It’s not that we can’t function: we can, and very well. Our infrastructures have withstood this crisis amazingly. Our civil defence emergency response teams have been excellent. Our community has come together to help each other through – I’m proud to live here. And, miraculously, no lives were lost.
But it doesn’t feel normal. The shops are open. School’s back in. People, if their job still exists, are back to work. But there’s a nervous edge to it. I avoid large shopping malls. I constantly check where my kids are. I startle at every low rumble. I quiz my son daily on what he should do in an earthquake.
We’ve had 611 quakes in twelve days. There’s nothing normal about that.
On Saturday 4th September 2010, at 4.36am, my partner and I woke to the biggest earthquake we’ve ever experienced. The pre-quake rumble was terrifying. Freight-train-through-your-lounge volume. Then the quake hit. Apparently it lasted forty seconds. To both of us it felt much, much longer. How to get to the kids in time? How to calm their terror, keep them safe? How to stay on our feet until we reached them?
Magnitude: 7.1 on the Richter scale. Depth: 10km (that’s shallow!). Epicentre: 40km west of Christchurch. Effect on our beautiful city: devastation.