Fires on the Ground, Confusion in the Soul

Regular readers of my blog or social media feeds will know that I live in Christchurch, New Zealand. I’m proud of the city where I live. It just breaks my heart to see my city threatened once again by Mother Nature.

We have had our fair share of natural disasters, mostly in the form of earthquakes (something that I have written about on numerous occasions), but Christchurch is definitely not immune to the ravages of weather.

Flooding from March 2014 meant that many had be to rescued by boat. (Photo: Joseph Johnson/Fairfax NZ)

There was the flooding back in March 2014 were St Albans (the suburb literally on the other side of the main road from me) was evacuated because the water was waist high. My neighbour had flooding in her garage that was ankle deep. Meanwhile, I was nice and dry on my little low-level island.

We’ve had storms with extremely high winds, taking down trees that have stood for nearly 100 years, if not longer, and almost taking out my neighbour’s car as a branch fell across the road right in front of her. There’s been snow that has forced the city to shut for business for the day (and Christchurch doesn’t get snow).

However, in the 17 years that I have lived in Christchurch, I think this is the first time that my home city has come under threat because of a bush fire.
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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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