Sunday, 5 September 2010

Earthquake in Christchurch - Day 2

Below is the update we sent out to our future guests today who are wondering if we are still alive!!  The simple answer is, YES WE ARE.  The long answer is below!! 

The Christchurch and Canterbury region was rocked by a strong Earthquake at 4.35am on 4 September.

Many people who have booked to stay at CentrePoint on Colombo Motel in the coming weeks and months have emailed us with kind messages of support and encouragement and we thank you all for your kind thoughts.

This is a standard reply to everyone, thanks for taking the time to read it.

Thankfully our family is safe, and the Motel did not sustain any damage.

CentrePoint on Colombo Motel is fully operational.

We are now ½ way through day 2 and Christchurch City and the Canterbury region is becoming accustomed to our new reality and finding ways to cope with it. Aftershocks are unevenly spread throughout the day and this afternoon we are faced with gale force winds which will give way to rain and cold southerlies tomorrow.

The reality in Christchurch today is that the CBD is still closed, although residents and hotel guests are allowed in and out. All city bus services have been cancelled. Taxi and shuttle services are operating as usual but are busy due to the lack of buses. The Art Gallery is the Civil Defense HQ. Supermarkets and other retail shops began opening yesterday afternoon and more are opening for business today. Some schools are planning to stay closed tomorrow (Monday) to confirm building safety before allowing students to return. The main aim for the disaster relief effort today is to restore electricity and water to as many areas as possible and ready the CBD area for re-opening although the winds could delay the progress.

Reading the previous paragraph, you could be excused for thinking it does not look good and it would be a normal reaction to say “I’m not going to Christchurch.” However, please remember that it is only day 2 and the situation will improve with time. Us Cantabrians are a resilient lot and bounce back pretty good!

We do look forward to welcoming you to Christchurch as per your original plans. By the time you get here the main parts of the city should be back to normal.

So how is Christchurch? The CBD is closed for cleanup and so that is limiting for tourists, with a reason people can move in and out of the area, but all businesses, restaurants, bars attractions, etc. are closed. CentrePoint on Colombo Motel is about 200 metres from the barrier at the corner of Kilmore St. and Colombo St. The motel can be accessed easily and directly. Close to the Motel, the older buildings have been seriously damaged and some of our favorite restaurants within 2 minutes walk will unfortunately not be reopening for some time. Apart from that, roads are undamaged and there are very few signs of the disaster we experienced. The eastern side of the city, closer to the coast and mainly residential did not fare as well. This is where some of the most serious damage occurred, often caused by liquefaction. Many roads, power poles, houses, lawns and footpaths are in need of a lot of repair. Yesterday, Mayor Bob Parker stated that there is probably not one house that has not been damaged in the quake and this statement is one way of summing up the situation. Christchurch is not in ruins, rather the damage is evenly spread out over almost the entire city and probably no-one is unaffected. Even for us, the residential part of the motel (where we live) received cosmetic damage when a neighbouring chimney fell across the boundary.

We look forward to providing more information to you over the coming days as Christchurch returns to normal by way of Twitter and our motel blog page at and we welcome you to follow the Garden City’s progress.

Jeff and Naomi Peters

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