Christchurch is OK

christchurch-is-okI wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in Christchurch yesterday.

Devastation? Rubble? A city destroyed by disaster?

Nope. Christchurch is actually OK.

Around the perimeters of the city, there is evidence of the quake. Some houses are held up by wooden struts, while others are missing chunks of eaves and roof.

The CBD (aka ‘the red zone’) is cordoned off to the public. This is where the major damage occurred so the only people allowed in are demolition crews.

It is heartbreaking to see such a beautiful city in pieces but the residents are far from broken. We speak to Ngaire Button, the Deputy Mayor, and she explains that the quake has brought the community together.

Street BBQs sprang up as freezers defrosted due to lack of power, people converted their backyards into long drop toilet blocks when the water ran out and, all over the city, a phenomenon called ‘Gap Filler’ occurred.

To explain, Gap Fillers are pop-up bars, coffee carts, performance spaces or dance clubs that fill spaces left where buildings have been knocked down. They are only temporary events but they embody the sense of positivity that is rising up against the horrors of the quake.

There is no question about whether the people of Christchurch have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – they do – but what is heartening is that they acknowledge it. They know it’s going to be a marathon effort to rebuild their city but the good news is that the work has already begun.

2 comments on “Christchurch is OK

  1. Wow, I was in Christchurch last year and while it was a very brief visit I admired the city’s beauty. Good to hear that even though the earthquake has taken its toll that the residents are still able to start something new and gradually rebuild. The Gap fillers sound like a great idea.

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