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Later on Sunday a friend from the police rang me to say a sink hole had developed just outside the city centre. A four year old boy had cycled into a two metre sink hole which was caused by a burst water pipe. Luckily the young boy managed to pull himself out. But police were eager to warn people that parts of the city were still at risk.
Galway journalist sees earthquake horror at first hand
On Monday I visited Kaiapoi, a small town about 17 kilometres north of Christchurch. It suffered extensive damage from the quake with many homes made uninhabitable.
The owners Jim (who is a second cousin to Wallabies rugby coach Robbie Deans ) and Louise Deans were too upset to speak to me. They managed to escape down a back staircase as their gorgeous home was ripped apart.
On Sunday engineers moved in to the city centre to assess the damage. The Press building, one of the most well known in the city heart, was finally declared safe at around noon, and we got in to work.
While the curfew was relaxed on Sunday evening, the cordon remained in place.
I moved to Christchurch about two years ago and have lived in a small flat just outside Christchurch city centre since. I work as a crime reporter for The Press, the South Island largest newspaper.
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Fortunately my home was not damaged. I slept through the worst of the quake before dashing down stairs and turning on the radio. I quickly rang the police to find out what was going on. And by 5am I was in my car and took to the streets to survey the damage.
their bed seconds before the roof caved in crushing their bed.
Less than a kilometre from my flat a local shop and several other properties had Converse Rubber Black collapsed. People were wandering the streets, looking lost and scared. Most were still in their pyjamas or wrapped in duvets to keep warm.
The central business district is home to some of Christchurch oldest buildings. Some, coated by brick, simply fell apart when the quake hit.
A volunteer fireman, who h ad been working since Saturday, was moving out of his badly damaged home. Across the road another family swimming pool had been pushed upwards. Back in Christchurch some residents were evacuated from Bexley, which is near Christchurch oxidation ponds.
While that may have been a slight exaggeration, tonnes of silt rushed up through the earth surface, ruining some properties. Roads were split and bridges ruined. One house was lifted off its foundations by the quake force.
Another man, whose bedroom wall exploded outwards crushing his car, was too upset to talk. Some of the damaged areas were already proving popular sights for the dismay of police, dozens of people were descending on the city to take pictures of the damage. Some children were even playing in the cracks.
Later on Saturday morning I spoke to a terrified woman who was pulled from her bed by a friend moments before her wall collapsed inwards.
I found a colleague, a well known New Zealand columnist, and headed towards Avonside Dr, a large Christchurch street which radio had earlier reported as ripped to pieces.
The first jolt lasted about 30 seconds, devastating parts of the city and surrounding towns. Roads were ripped to pieces, pipe lines burst, houses were split in two, chimneys fell, and some buildings simply collapsed.
the city centre remained closed. Police and army patrolled the streets, cordoning off some of Christchurch most at risk areas.
Outside Christchurch , in the surrounding countryside and townships people were beginning to assess Converse All Star Womens Slip On
Aftershocks continue to stir Canterbury and there are concerns more buildings could fall.
Homebush is a large brick homestead, home to the Deans family. There were among the earliest Pakeha (European ) settlers in Canterbury.
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Officials are still getting to grips with the scale of the damage. Estimates suggest about 100,000 homes may have been affected.
Amazingly no one was killed. Two men were seriously injured, one by a falling chimney and the other when bricks and mortar landed on his taxi.
Another Canterbury man I spoke to on Sunday, William Cottrell had his leg smashed as his roof collapsed under the weight of the chimney.
On Saturday evening Christchurch police declared a 12 hour curfew. The aftershocks kept coming meaning most New Zealanders found it difficult to sleep.
At 4.35am on Saturday an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale rocked Canterbury. The quake, which was centred about 40km west of Christchurch, New Zealand second largest city, was comparable to the Haiti quake in January.
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