Firstly I wanted to pass on my sincere thanks to all of you for your kind words, emails, texts and phone calls. It’s been a tough week and hearing some friendly voices has made things more ‘normal’, so thanks! All family and friends are safe and accounted for so I feel very fortunate. Our Christchurch office survived surprisingly well, however most buildings around us are decimated – we were very lucky to come out relatively unscathed ->a third of the CBD is unlikely to survive.
I thought I’d share some of my experiences from the Christchurch quake that hit on the 22nd of February 2011. I was in our building catching up with friends who work at Exeed (HP Distributors) before heading to lunch when the quake occurred. Our building shook extensively, we headed for something to shelter under as we saw plumes of dust and fly debris out the office window. After making sure everyone was OK, and the aftershocks subsided, we headed for the ground floor and out into High Street. We were greeted with something I can only describe as a war zone.
Here are some photos of the devastation I saw as I walked out the door. There was carnage everywhere, people running, screaming, yelling, standing still, trapped, cars abandoned etc. I encouraged those standing under things to move along and follow the crowd, and checked on a number of people who were clearly not in a good space. Like many, my car wasn’t accessible (and won’t be for along time) so I started my journey home. Given the amount of debris and the aftershocks still happening, walking out of the city was a long process. It took me a good few hours to walk out of the city and arrive at home. Sights of people walking and stepping into liquefaction and sinking knee height weren’t uncommon. Traffic was banked up for hours with people trying to rescue those who were without transport. 80% of Christchurch was without power at this stage, cell sites overloaded/on battery, no water, sewage, queues of people filling up at gas stations etc. – It gives you appreciation of how reliant we’ve become on technology. I was unable to make phone calls, texts and tweets were flying in, however I was couldn’t respond as there clearly wasn’t the bandwidth available. I eventually made contact with mum and my kids so it was a huge relief to know they were safe – I put them on a flight to Auckland as soon as I could.
I have taken refuge at a friends place, they have been spectacular in looking after me, having an open home to the many friends that have dropped in who have needed food and power to charge gadgets.
Workwise we have kicked off our response team to assist customers, partners, small businesses and the government where we can add the most value. Microsoft New Zealand is making the following support offerings available to affected customers and business partners. We hope this will help our customers as they respond to the disaster and rebuild their IT capability in the coming weeks and months. This offer is available for customers in the Canterbury Region for an initial 90 day period – Microsoft will review the offer and the period as we learn more about the precise assistance most commonly needed. Go here for more information.
The sense of helplessness is felt by many across the country/globe, equally for those of us on the ground the sentiments are similar. It’s a time to pull together as a community/country and help each other out. I believe that out of these types of events, there’s more of an opportunity to learn, grow and achieve some great outcomes if we work together. Hope, determination, smart decisions and some kiwi-know-how will get us through this. We are down, but not out – Thanks all for your continuing thoughts, calls, texts, prayers and assistance – it means alot and is appreciated.
Here’s a view of the city after the earthquake.
Please visit the Canterbury Response website for the latest information on the Earthquake.