Christchurch Earthquake: A sailor's view of the damage and aftermath

Rowing shed yacht storage building on dangerous angle yacht evacuated on Sunday - Christchurch Yacht Club
Nick Richardson

One of the New Zealand sailing fraternity is working on at Christchurch and reports from the scene:

'I haven't made any contact with any of the Clubs around the region, but the re is severe damage all around the waterfronts. Christchurch and Mt Pleasant club site look bad, no word from the Harbour and I haven't been over to Lyttelton and south yet, where reports are of serious damage. Not enough hours in the days and nights to go everywhere and it is difficult anyway with the state of the roads etc.

'Yes, it is tough here in Christchurch.

'We have been on the hills where land movements need geologists to check the safety of houses and in some cases blocks of houses. In some suburbs liquefaction has been as much as a metre deep in places. Streets are in places full of silt dug out and piled on the sides of the roads that themselves are covered in silt from boundary to boundary.

'Our days are long and challenging and we have clocked up 600km just going from place to place within Christchurch.

'Many of the folks are naturally distressed and that adds to our challenges, but we usually leave them with some understanding and hope. Buiders are doing marvellous things to get houses secured and reoccupied.

'Damage is horrific in the central city, with 80% destroyed or at risk of collapse and/or demolition I would guess. CTV is tragic. It is equal to a small Twin Towers site and people are recovering things that don't bear description.

'PGC Building was equally as devastating to the soul. A digger operator was working on the debris at great risk to his own life and on all the sites others were showing courage in the city. I talked with a Los Angeles Fire Dept. veteran of Haiti earthquake and Ground Zero 911 and he told me this is more hazardous by far, because there are so many buildings still standing that can collapse at any time.

'Today we are going to Rangiora where buildings have not been affected by this latest earthquake, and to keep the Fletchers teams there going with restoration work from September. Back up to the hills above Clifton/Mt Pleasant this afternoon, a likely couple of other calls and then we can go to the airport and head homewards. I can't wait to again sleep long and easy without shakes and worries about what will be to do the next day.

'Spare thoughts for the people here. They are still being shaken up and it will be a very long time before many have their lives back to anything approaching normality.'