New Zealand earthquake aftermath: Your stories


Hopes are fading of finding survivors beneath collapsed buildings in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

The death toll has risen to 113 confirmed victims with around 228 still missing.

BBC News website readers have been telling their stories of the earthquake and the aftermath:

Brian Power, Governors Bay

Image caption, Brian Power is grateful for the international help being given.

We live approximately 8km from the epicentre, in a seaside area, which is somewhat geographically isolated from the rest of Christchurch.

But all the houses here have damage ranging from a few cracks to walls collapsing. Luckily all are still habitable and we have had power and water restored.

We're out at the moment trying to buy food and have found the local supermarket's shelves are three quarters full and the roof is partially open to the elements.

But the major sign of what had happened were lines at the supermarket and gas stations running out of petrol.

However rescue efforts are being organised and good information is being posted on the internet suggesting where help is available.

But apart from the aftershocks the biggest problem is now fear. It is very easy to feel alone in this situation.

Even if the international rescue teams do not find a single person still alive, we are very grateful for their presence.

The knowledge that we are not alone in this is invaluable. The damage is such that it will take years for Christchurch to recover.

Euan Mason, Christchurch

Our home suffered more damage than during the September quake, with many large cracks in the lounge and new cracks appearing in other places.

The front door is now difficult to close and we suspect that the foundations have moved. No doubt the Earthquake Commission will sort it out. Some of our crockery was smashed, and several items of furniture broken.

I find it distressing that we are not welcome to help in the central city where many people are still trapped in buildings, and where, many have sadly died.

Engineers expected that many of the city's heritage buildings would fall, and we have lost such gems as the old council chambers, much of both cathedrals, several old stone churches, and plenty of old brick buildings.

We had no power or water and used a camp stove on the front lawn to cook our evening meal while listening to a transistor radio. Violent aftershocks were rattling our house, and we felt safer outside.

We are fortunate to be well, have lost nobody close to us, and to have more amenities than many in this stricken city.

Peter Bass, Christchurch

Image caption, Peter Bass took this picture of a car being swallowed up by mud in New Brighton, Christchurch

I was in Wellington at the time of the earthquake - all the links to Christchurch went down but I managed to get back.

Where we are there's virtually no damage, but if you drive around the city you'll see some streets unaffected and some which have been heavily damaged. A lot of people have lost their houses.

But people are wandering around the streets helping each other, which is amazing. We've had about three families around, showering and using the house.

The roads have turned into liquid, there's mud everywhere and holes in the road - you have to be careful about where you're driving.

My wife is a midwife so she's helping where she can - she's been told to stay on standby in case of need.

Graham Cook, Christchurch

Image caption, Graham and his son Matthew next to their flattened chimney

My wife was at home while my daughter Thea, who is 12, was at school when it all happened. My son, Matthew, 17, and I had headed into town and were just leaving the post office when the earthquake struck.

Everything started shaking and although we're used to aftershocks since the big one in September, this, we soon realised was much worse. People were shouting and running outside but I knew that that was a bad idea, especially if there was going to be lots of masonry falling around.

My son and I grabbed the counter of the post office and just tried to stay upright. Opposite was just a wall of dust. For us it was difficult, our vision was going blurry and it was hard to do anything.

When it stopped, we looked outside and saw the shop we were heading to - the front of it had collapsed. It was just a mess. We had missed it by seconds.

There was a also a car that had been flattened. We saw people bleeding and trapped and Matthew and I started helping to clear rubble to try to get people out. My son even started directing traffic. But as soon as the police arrived they said we could leave as I wanted to check on my own family.

My daughter was out on the school field with the rest of her school. There were a lot of children crying - including my daughter. The playing field was a mess of mounds of grey sand. When I got home, we saw the chimney had collapsed. It also looked like a whirlwind had hit inside. Luckily my wife was safe.

But now, we've been advised not to leave the house unless we have to. We're also without any water and sanitation is a problem. We've been told to use buckets as we can't flush the toilets in case any contaminated water leaks out.

Even the shops are shut - I don't know what we're going to do.

Hamish Sandison, Christchurch

I work as emergency planner in the Canterbury region.

We have had 30 or 40 aftershocks since the earthquake throughout last night and today. This causes buildings to shake and vibrate, leaving people edgy and tired.

Electricity supply in rural parts is now back on but in the city itself a lot of parts have no electricity and 60% have no water at all.

Access to potable water will be hard to come by over the next days or so because the sewage system has been disrupted so the water from the aquifers and rivers has been polluted.

We have also experienced liquefaction, which means sand and silt is coming from under pavements to surfaces and washing into the water.

We couldn't access our office so had to work at a hospital, but went back to our public health building to get some personal items and equipment.

The building was absolutely devastated. We could see a gap from the floor below us.

The Christchurch central business district, which has been cordoned off, has been devastated, many buildings having been reduced to rubble. It looks like a scene from the London blitz.

Many people are badly traumatised by this disaster and many have had no contact with their loved ones and we really feel for them as they wait and hope for news that their dear ones have been rescued from the rubble.

It will be a long time before the beautiful city of Christchurch recovers from this earthquake.

Ruth Cross, Christchurch

Image caption, Ruth Cross was working in the city centre when the earthquake struck

I was in my third floor office on Oxford Terrace and instantly knew it was a big one, we watched the opposite Pines Gould building collapse outside our window, it was unbelievable and happened in an instant.

At that point I thought we were next. Colleagues ran to the collapsed building to pull people free.

Unless you have been in such a situation, you could never understand the complete terror, violence and destruction we all went through and are still experiencing.

I live outside Christchurch, so I drove home. It took me six to seven hours as the roads were terrible - I had to drive all the way inland because the bridges weren't safe.

I've spoken to my bosses today and they say everyone at the office is safe - we managed to get out of the building together. But some are still looking for their relatives or have no water or electricity. There was also a strong gas smell just after the earthquake.

My home is safe and we have water and electricity. I'm staying here because I'm afraid to go elsewhere.

More on this story

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.