Saturday, September 4, 2010

7.1 Earthquake

At 4:35 this morning we woke to an earth- quake. Over the last 3 years in New Zealand we have felt a few tremors and very quickly realized this was more than just a tremor. I found myself out of bed and wondering at what point do I get under the bed. Or perhaps out the house. At some point I decided to start counting and managed to count 15 seconds before it stopped. That may not sound long, but you count One thousand, Two thousand (normally) and see how long 15 to 20 seconds is. And that after it's already been going on for a while.
It was so incredibly scary. The whole house was moving and I kept wondering if it was going to hold. While the quake is happening you have no idea how long it will go on for or how much stronger it may get. What made it worse for me was not having the girls at home with us. They were sleeping over at our old neighbours (Bob and Lynn) because of our dinner last night. My first thoughts and prayers where for their safety and that we would all be together again soon.
The power went off with the quake and so once the rocking had stopped Brendon lit two candles. I quickly cleaned up the passage. The dehumidifier was in the passage and the shaking had spilt quite a bit of water from the catching bucket onto the floor. Then we just sat. Each in a door frame with a candle next to us (ready to blow them out if another big shake happened). Sitting wondering and waiting. There were a few aftershocks but nothing that made us feel the need to blow the candles out. Eventually by around 5:30 we decided to try and get some more sleep.
I had sent a text message to Lynn letting them know we were ok and asking about the girls. Once we were back in bed I really started praying again for their safety (not feeling as though I would be able to sleep at all with concern about them). And as I prayed a text came through from Lynn saying that they were all fine. What a relief.
A few minutes later the phone rang (Brendon had found our "manual" phone that does not need electricity) and I got to chat to Bob about how the girls were doing. By this stage they were all awake and keeping warm by their fire. He assured me that they were ok and that we could come and get them later in the morning as originally planned. So I headed back to bed. Soon after this the lights came back on. Brendon had tried our bedroom light as soon as the quake hit and had not switched it off. So it was a wonderful relief to know we had power again. I think this also helped me to stop wondering about what lay ahead (knowing we would not be struggling without power) and I managed to get a bit of sleep.
By 8am we were up and I was very thankful to have internet access. While I was on the computer (which is upstairs) another after shock happened and I felt the house swaying. Being 10pm in SA none of the family were on Skype so we could not chat to anyone there yet. I did post some news on facebook though - so at least if they wanted to check on us that would be the quickest way to get our news. At 5 in the afternoon (7am Saturday morning in SA) I got a Skype call from my sister though. Her husband had just seen the news and she was terribly worried about us. She was so very thankful to reach me on Skype.
She said her next step would be to check facebook and so at least I knew that our family (who are all on fb) could know that we were ok.

It was understandable that she had so much fear though. This earthquake was huge having a magnitude of 7.1 (originally thought to be 7.4). The earthquake in Haiti which took approximately 230,000 lives was the same size. We had our television on most of Saturday and were so very thankful to keep hearing that no lives had been lost. There were only two serious injuries and the hospital was busy with people coming in with bumps and broken bones. But on the whole it was a miracle that no one was killed. When the Minister of Civil Defence was interviewed in the morning he was saying how lucky we are that no one was killed. He very quickly changed that though to "we are very blessed". And how true that is. God has been very gracious to us and I do pray that through this time many will consider their eternal standing before God and take this opportunity to repent and trust in Christ for salvation.
This photo is of a house of someone we know in town. The stairway was blocked and so they were trapped upstairs. The fire brigade arrived to get them out though.
This photo is of a bridge in Kaiapoi that Rachel and I walked over when we were on the Brownie camp earlier this year.

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