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04 September 2010 @ 11:35 pm
Oh New Zealand ...  
I'm not sure how much news coverage it is receiving in the Northern Hemisphere, but Christchurch, New Zealand's most picturesque major city, had a massive earthquake early today. The good news is that no one was killed by the quake, though there were two serious injuries and I read that one person died of a heart attack. But there is very serious damage to the city, looking at the photos I saw some of my favourite shopping blocks without front walls, which is terrible for the owners and those who enjoyed the community as it was.

Most of my friends in the city have checked in, so far a car and two chimneys and lots of small things broken for them, but insurance should cover it all. No power for most, and the water, which is some of the best tap water in the world -- that level of deliciousness you only get from filtering through stone for a few thousand years before pumping into the pipes, needs boiling before drinking. I think my flistees tend to be mostly North Island and Dunedin, but think there are a few ChCh folks out there, I hope you're well! 

It says something about how serious Kiwis are when they enforce building regulations on their tectonically exciting islands that a quake bigger than the one that hit Haiti could cause such comparatively minimal damage. But it's still quite a serious hit. And the economy over there has not been fabulous. I hope that the insurers and government are able to bring out the money that will be needed, at least builders and people who lay tarmac will do well out of it. And I feel sure that Australia will help, even if we have no proper government to be making offers to yours yet.

In other news, Reign of Fire is the best flu movie ever.
mahaliemmahaliem on September 4th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry you're ill.

I adore Reign of Fire. However, I tend to love most films in which there's been an Apocalypse of some sort. Also, I like films about dragons. Throw them both together and it's like it was written just for me. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 4th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
It's just flu, I will be better in a week, just miserable for this week and unable to sleep properly, which is a bugger because that is what I need. Am dreadful patient!!

It's a spectacular film. I bought it a while back and had been saving it up for a good occasion. When we saw it at the cinema, I was convinced that it was two films running concurrently: a dramatic, intense, low-budget English film about the state of the individual in times of political disaster, and a DRAMATIC high-budget American film about blowing things up and posing mightily with bare arms. On re-watching, I see I was right ;-) And I still gasped for poor Cready!
leecetheartist on September 5th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
Watch D-Wars if you haven't already. Now compare and contrast to Reign of Fire.

pir8fancier on September 4th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
Being connected to the earthquake engineering world through my job, it was quite a surprise that magnitude. They get a lot of 5s and 6s, but a 7 is rare. I've been on the Intranets to my contacts, and yeah, lots of frightened people and no water, but not a catastrophe.

As an aside, nothing really can be compared with Haiti in terms of buildings codes, etc. They just didn't exist. Probably a reasonable comparison is the 6.9 earthquake we had here in California where we had a freeway collapse and all fatalities were due to that.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 4th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
I was surprised it was on the South Island. My Wellington pals are so blasé about tremors and quakes because they happen so very very often up there, but not so much in ChCh.

And yes, the devastation in Haiti was very specific, but I do think the lack of devastation is something the Kiwis should be proud of. In the homes of my friends, things did as they were designed to and fell outwards if they had to fall, rather than inwards and onto people. Of course, it was extreme good luck that it happened at the witching hour so the streets were quite empty and all those falling outwards things fell onto no one.
pir8fancier on September 4th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
The codes *do* work. There are social aspects to earthquakes that don't get much "press" but as an example there was what was considered a moderate earthquake in Izmit, Turkey, with horrendous damage (I think the magnitude was something like 6.8). Six months later there was a 7.1 earthquake in Taiwan. Same code. I think 30,000 died in Turkey, under a thousand in Taiwan. The difference was that the amount of graft during a massive construction boom in Turkey was the culprit. The buildings had no rebar. These 3-4 story aparment buildings were like gigantic sandcastles. I don't know how some people sleep at night.
snottygrrl on September 4th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
mum and i were looking at some pics yesterday. i wasn't that surprised by how well the city took it despite the huge quake, kiwis are used to being shook around. the lack of power/water and in-city looting is a bugger though and all those brick facades in the streets. shame that. the amount of aftershocks is also quite impressive (http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/recent_quakes.html). i worry a wee bit about the aftermath in the cold wet weather. not a nice time of year to be powerless (though better than the dead of winter i suppose).

feel better, hon. [*sends chicken soup*]
shadowedkit on September 4th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
I ended up being in CHCH yesterday--same thing here, my relatives and friends have very minor damage thankfully. You can't really access areas that have alot of damage due to either the CBD cordon or in Avonside and Spreydown, the roads are.. intereeesting. New Brighton and Kaipoi area, however has flooding.

Was amazed with it as well--alot of people mentioned it was a violent shake-not the usual rolling but after the shock wore off and they established things were okay, they kinda just...got on with it. We are too used to earthquakes!

Sorry you are ill :( Hope you feel better soon and it appears I have another movie to add to the -when sick- list!
Meredythmeredyth_13 on September 4th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
It's both sad to see how much has been damaged, and gratifying to see how well the city has stood up to such a pounding. But, the infrastructure damage is going to take a massive effort. And the really difficult part now, as I understand it, will be assessing if the buildings that don't 'seem' to be damaged are actually still sound and safe.

I did see a report that they were evacuating the whole city, but I think that was mis-represented? Still, I believe they're tanking in water, and they're not supposed to use their toilets.

This is going to be a mammoth clean up.

*is sad*
shadowedkit on September 4th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
Sorry to interrupt but just to let you know-- they have evacuated the city centre due to health and safety reasons as there is alot of rubble on the road, the buildings are not safe and the possibility of aftershocks. Some areas on the other side of city centre-- New Brighton and such have been evacuated due to flooding, but the whole city hasn't been evaucated.

Water wise--they have been advised to boil and conserve water as much as possible. Was at one of the big supermarkets there yesterday to buy water for friends, and they were almost completely out...
Meredythmeredyth_13 on September 5th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for that - I hope everyone is doing ok. We had heard today that the violent winds and rain we experienced last night were heading that direction. I can only hope it blows out before reaching you.

pioniepionie on September 4th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
A picture fell on my bro-in-law's head, but he and his family are otherwise fine. Amazing isn't it, considering it's the same scale of quake that completely destroyed Napier up the road?

As for Reign of Fire, it is really only fit for the flu :)
Hueyphoenixacid on September 5th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
I have family in NZ, so I'm really glad there's only minimal damage! :)

Anyway, I hope you'll get better soon!
leecetheartist on September 5th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Ooh, now watch D-Wars, which while it is still basically Tanks Vs Dragons is the complete opposite of Reign of Fire.

I mean flying fire breathing deinonychus. 100's of flying, fire breathing deinychus vs helicopters. What could be better than that?
quatrefoilquatrefoil on September 5th, 2010 08:45 am (UTC)
Under caretaker conventions Our Julia can send help if she gets opposition support. I doubt even Mr Rabbit would risk the level of public condemnation if he failed to support help for NZ.

The damage done by an earthquake depends not just on the ability to withstand it, but much more on the sort of geological terrain. I experienced Australia's largest earthquake, which was in Tennant Creek in 1988 - 6.8 on the Richter Scale, significantly bigger than the Newcastle earthquake. It did almost no damage because the rock underneath the town moved from side to side but did not undulate. I don't know what kind of rock ChCh is built on, but I suspect that probably played a part in limiting the damage.
lokifanlokifan on September 5th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
:( This really sucks... thank goodness for the building regulations!

I hope you feel better soon.
(Anonymous) on September 5th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Saw the mayor of Christchurch interviewed on TV. He said that for every home destroyed/condemned the owners would automatically receive $100,000 and that there was $15 BILLION in the national earthquake fund, so people should be OK financially.

As for us in Victoria, the flood waters in the northern part of the state have been extraordinary ... but most people said they would rather face a flood than fire.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 5th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
I'm just getting my head around the Victorian floods -- they're HUGE! But yes, you can saunter away from those floods at a moderate pace, which is immensely better than the fires. So far the actual home damage seems to be as minimal as could be hoped for, fingers crossed that continues.

That's jolly good news about the Kiwi's budget. They're so eminently sensible about those things over there, I think we would do well to follow more in their footsteps on things like state insurance.
shadowedkit on September 6th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
That is for the people with insurance-- $100,000 and insurance will cover further. For people without insurance the government will still help financially but it seems that it will be more difficult. To be fair, alot of people are pitching in money to help. Fonterra gave $1 million!

Looking at the Victorian floods...They are HUGE. Didn't they have flooding earlier this year as well, or was that Queensland?
(Anonymous) on September 6th, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
Earlier floods were Queensland. In Victoria we had at least two days' warning about the weather and flooding, so people were largely prepared. However, a locust plague is about to be unleashed on our long-suffering farmers.