Remembering the June 2011 Christchurch Quake

Today marks the fifth anniversary of two strong quakes that shook the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. On June 13, 2011, a 5.7-magnitude quake was followed by a 6.3 quake only a few hours later.

After a long string of quakes and aftershocks that had riddled our existence for nine months, it wasn't surprising that many of us were nonchalant about the events of that day, but as I look back at it now and realize how fortunate I was.

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Freddy the Flax in the Red Zone

Back in January, 2015, I asked for survivors of the Christchurch quakes to share their stories. The response was overwhelming. I was so touched by all the stories. In February, I was unable to share all the stories with my readers. However, now that we are approaching the fifth anniversary of the June 13th, 2011 quake, I felt it was prudent that I share with the world the remainder of those stories.

Below is a short story from Jennifer Wilson. We should give a thought to the ones who couldn't speak for themselves: the flora and fauna.

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Why do we have earthquakes? Let the children explain…

On February 22, 2011, at 12:51pm (NZST), a 6.3 magnitude quake hit. The epicentre was only 10 km (6 miles) from the centre of Christchurch and at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles). The residents of Christchurch had been living with aftershocks from a 7.1 quake that occurred 6 months prior. While the quake was not as strong as the September quake, the surface effect forces were far greater. The simultaneous vertical and horizontal ground movement was near impossible for buildings to survive. An already quake-crippled city was decimated.

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Misinformed Fathers and Aftershocks…

She sat at the dining room table staring at the laptop. The nerves were shot and she wasn't getting much sleep, but one thing was helping with her mental sanity — her writing. Ironically, the anxiety brought on by the quaky earth fueled the tension of her story.

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No More Music — Remembering February 22, 2011

Recently, I sent out a request for others to share their memories of the Christchurch earthquakes that occurred five years ago. To my pleasant surprise, some have come forward with stories so moving that I felt it was important to share them with the world. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of the stories sent to me about that day as well as sharing a few of my own. The February 2011 quake changed our lives forever, but has made the city of Christchurch a stronger community.

J. L. O'Rourke was working in the office of the Christchurch School of Music in the Music Centre building on February 22. The Music Centre was housed in a former convent beside the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Both buildings were red-stickered after the quake and the Music Centre was subsequently demolished.

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