Monday, January 30, 2012

Terrible Earthquakes

This month, we traveled all the way across the South Island of New Zealand starting in Christchurch, and today, finishing in Christchurch.  We have seen some amazing sights and have done some amazing things.  We have kayaked in Murchison, have hiked to rocky beaches and up a mountain pass, and have witnessed the spectacular New Zealand scenery.  However, I have seen nothing compared to the city of Christchurch, strongly effected by a string of recent earthquakes.  Today, I saw the effects of the earthquakes, and experienced the amazing spirit of the people rising up from destruction.  

Over the past year and a half, Christchurch has been hit by eight thousand quakes, four of which have knocked over buildings and distorted the city.  The first big quake was in September 2010 and caused damage to buildings, but no fatalities.  The town was not so lucky in February 2011 when towering buildings crashed beside terrified pedestrians, killing hundreds of people.  The following two quakes, June 2011 and December 2011, were similar to the one in September, causing only building damage.  Prior to these earthquakes, nobody had noticed or given cation to this fault line.  I was interested to see the earthquake destruction for myself as we drove into the city center.

Christchurch was heavily effected by the devastating earthquakes.  On every downtown street, shops were closed and gaps and crevices still remained in the streets.  Around every corner were blocks that were closed down and fenced off due to extreme earthquake danger.  In the enclosed area were torn up buildings, broken and destroyed shops, and even an abandoned bike.  Residents in outlying neighborhoods are being evicted with no where to go.  However, hope is not all lost.   

Despite the damage, townspeople are still keeping spirit and hope.  In one small city square, business owners have built shops and cafes out of shipping containers that they have painted brightly and colorfully.  People we met in the “container mall” said that they are keeping the vibe in the city and trying to make it colorful again.  All over town are bill boards saying that the Christchurch we love is still here.  I was impressed by the movement and spirit of the people and have never seen a natural disaster handled better.

What a day!  I saw the effects of several devastating earthquakes and people rising up from them.  Tomorrow we are leaving New Zealand and are heading for South America!  I am excited to see a new continent!

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!          


  1. Great post. I guess you can add journalism to your long list of skills.

    Love the first photo!

    I look forward to hearing about more adventures from a new continent.

  2. Rohan, You are wise beyond your years. It has taken me many and many a false start to learn that when my instincts tell me something, I need to listen and not talk myself out of following their guide. Your trip sounds a bit soggy, but still glorious, including seeing how people cope with dreadful things like earthquakes. Lots of love to you, Grandpa Morgan
    PS Ask your Dad if he remembers my giving him a button one year that showed a sheepdog with hair over its eyes proclaiming HELP STAMP OUT MORNING!

  3. Hello Dad,

    Thank you for commenting... sorry no memory of the sheepdog.....
    Love Tim