|Photo source: Fairfax Media|
Living in a city that spans a fault-line capable of generating an 8M+ quake, and seeing how events have played out in Christchurch, Wellingtonians, I think, are pretty cognisant of the damage a major earthquake can unleash and if there were any complacent people left in this city, I think this has been the wake-up call that was needed.
The first quake, a 5.8M at 7.17am, was merely a nuisance, since I had been dozing quite happily in bed. The girls had been entertaining themselves quietly and hardly noticed a thing. There was no chance of my heart returning to normal resting rate after the 6.5M that rumbled through at 5.09pm.
5.09pm - the time that is scorched in my brain, as I huddled in the doorway of our lounge with my husband and our two youngest girls, feeling the join in the floor moving in two separate directions and watched as my eldest daughter ran panic-stricken from the lounge right to an area of the house that is the last place to run to in an earthquake. You try to protect your children from ever experiencing the kind of terror that was reflected in Sienna's eyes and yet, there was nothing I could do about this except talk to her, talk, soothe her, hold her. We waited for the ground to stop shuddering beneath our bare feet, which was only 20 seconds or so, and then tried to carry on as normally as possible for the rest of the evening.
Wobbly-voiced, our children searched our faces for an assurance that there would be no more shaking. We didn't lie. We promised we would do everything in our power to protect them always. What we didn't say was that sometimes even that will not be enough.
|This image chilled me. My girls and husband were in this building just the day before|
I am grateful that the quake did not cause any fatalities or serious damage to infrastructure. I am also well aware that next time - and we all know this can happen again at any time - we may not fare so well. It is comforting to know that some of our family and friends experienced this with us. I know that the people of Canterbury walk with us too, because when all is said and done, it is the kindness and compassion shown by others that will help get us through this the next time.