Sep 1, 2011
CHRISTCHURCH // Two strong aftershocks have jangled nerves in New Zealand's second biggest city, where an earthquake killed 181 people and destroyed the central district six months ago.
Since the 6.3-magnitude quake on February 22, the Christchurch region has experienced more than 4,000 aftershocks, hampering the recovery effort and reinforcing uncertainty about the future.
Leanne Curtis, who lives in one of the worst affected residential areas, said: "Do you stay and keep wondering if there'll be another big one, or do you go?"
Mrs Curtis's house is one of more than 5,000 deemed uninhabitable as a result of the February quake, which liquefied the ground in suburbs east of the city centre. The government has offered to buy homes located in the "red zone", but some residents are reluctant to rebuild elsewhere, while others say they cannot afford to do so because land prices have rocketed.
A Royal Commission has been examining why so many buildings in the centre were destroyed. Nearly two thirds of people died in one office block, the Canterbury Television (CTV) building, which pancaked and collapsed in February. No one inside survived.
Among those hoping for answers is Iraqi-born Maan Alkaisi, who lost his wife, Maysoon Abbas, in the tragedy. A doctor, she was working in a clinic in the CTV building. Mr Alkaisi wants to know why she and the others died in a building only 25 years old. He said she had told him that the building felt shaky. "It was built in 1986, not 1886," he said. "We knew a lot about earthquakes at that time. For a building to collapse in such a drastic way, there must have been a drastic design failure."
These reports have some interesting information such as the ground being LIQUEFIED by the quake. Is it normal for a non-volcanic quake to liquefy the ground? I am afraid for Christchurch....judgment begins at the house of God and if the name of this city that has not stopped being shaken since last September is not a warning, I don't what would serve as a warning to the people. I fear that along with Tokyo, Christchurch may yet see far greater devastation!