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4th September 2010

Earthquake in Christchurch

  • 4th Sep, 2010 at 8:48 AM
eep, meep

We woke up to find there's been a big earthquake in Christchurch, 7.4 magnitude with aftershocks measured at 5 or so. It happened around 4am when most people were in bed so I believe there aren't any casualties, but chimneys have come down and flattened cars, the fronts of some shops have come off, road has buckled, there's no power, and people say the insides of their houses look like they've been burgled: a real mess but fairly superficial. Greg's talking to his sister at the moment and apparently his mother is OK.

And this is why there are so many wooden houses here, and brick is banned in some places like Wellington. Not Christchurch though; Greg's mother's house is brick but it's survived several quakes. Oh and it was full tide and the Avon River slopped its banks, but I doubt it got as far as her house though she lives beside it.

Greg said locals measure earthquakes by damage to the cathedral spire which has sometimes come down, sometimes just been left askew. There hasn't been any news of the spire.

[Edit] It's intact. And all of Greg's family there have now been located (some at others' houses) and are fine.


Pedantry, or when accuracy counts

  • 4th Sep, 2010 at 10:27 AM

We've been watching the Christchurch earthquake coverage, and so far there have been no deaths, but two people are seriously injured. Despite this, a reporter standing outside a restaurant with its front sheared off (and the surrounding buildings looking undamaged from the outside) just said, "Carnage is not an overstatement." Um, yes. It is. Do you even know what that word means? I hope someone tells him. He obviously never learned Latin.

Greg however, noting the proportion of buildings damaged, said it seemed to be literally (and that's literally literally) decimation. [Edit] He's overstating too. It's more like 1 in 20.

So if you're hearing words like that in reports, don't believe them. There's a state of emergency just declared because there's no power and water in some areas, but though there's a lot of damage and people are in shock, things are a lot better than they might have been had it happened during the day.


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