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Christchurch – the only place with a cordoned off inner city

Christchurch Earthquake 2011 - Central City Footage from Gerard Smyth on Vimeo.

March 22, 2010

- By Kip Brook, Word of Mouth Media

Quake-rattled Christchurch – the only place in the world with cordoned off inner city

Earthquake-devastated Christchurch today is the only city in the world without a central business district.

One month on since the fatal February 22 earthquake, the most English of New Zealand cities is a city no more. The inner central area is still cordoned off to the public.

The people of Christchurch have not been allowed into their central city area for a month. Businesses have not been allowed into the business district (CBD) since February 22 when the quake killed almost 200 people and caused more than $30 billion damage.

Around 80,000 people of a greater city area of almost 500,000 people fled Christchurch after the quake. Some have returned; many will never return.

One month on, Christchurch is still under a national state of civil emergency.

Around a third of the city’s sewage pours into its English-named streams and rivers without reaching the main treatment plant.

The city’s highest building the Hotel Grand Chancellor is in danger of collapse. This is a city under siege and struggling to function. People are battling to function.

Just thousands of Christchurch householders are in temporary accommodation. More than 10,000 homes have been lost to the quake’s violent shaking. Possibly a third of the inner city will be demolished. Most churches have been destroyed.

People are suffering significant distress as confirmed by the national Civil Defence controller John Hamilton.

Water is too contaminated to drink without boiling it. Power has been restored but thousands of homes are relying on emergency generators which may not be enough to heat water for showers.

The earthquake has left 100,000 homes with damage. People’s lives are in disarray.
The future is uncertain.

Christchurch, the garden city, was one of the most liveable and safest places in the world. None of that applies any more. It’s etched in the unnerving faces of people who still remain. People don’t smile so much any more.

The spirit of Christchurch has been buried in the wreckage of the terrifying quake that ripped through the biggest South Island city at 12.51pm on February 22.

A weather forecaster, who works by the moon, predicted a big earthquake for Christchurch a few days ago. People already frightened fled the city for a few days expecting Armageddon. Just a 5.1 earthquake rattled those that remain. Christchurch is recovering, very slowly, but nerves are frayed and life is on a knife edge.

The city’s biggest sporting brand, the Crusaders rugby team, has lost their ground, AMI Stadium, and will not play a home game in Christchurch this year.


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