CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND 2012
When I visited New Zealand this year I knew that Christchurch had suffered two major earthquakes, one the 4th September 2010 and another 22nd February 2011. There had been loss of life and many injuries, yet these I knew had been fortunately relatively minimal, compared with Haiti’s earthquake, though no less catastrophic for those personally involved. What I did not know was how much material damage had been caused, and what it had done to change the people’s lives, who live there.
Many buildings are now structurally unsafe and must be torn down. This has led to the CBD (central business district), the very heart of Christchurch, being completely cordoned off with fencing and the army guarding and patrolling the area. Houses and offices have been abandoned with people leaving Christchurch to live in safer districts. Minor quakes are still reoccurring on a daily basis, there have been over 10,000 since September 2010!
Some people I spoke to, have bravely learnt to live with the threat of a quake by having a prearranged rendezvous place for meeting their loved ones, keeping the car petrol tank full and their mobile phones charged. Meanwhile, even though they may sometimes wake in the middle of the night to a shaking bed, they hope that the authorities' estimates that there is less chance now of another major quake occurring, is correct.
In January I followed the fences and photographed the desolation of the CBD during my visit.