Friday, March 04, 2011

Aftershocks are still jarring what's left of Christchurch and after reading the papers & watching the evening news, many who stayed on were jarred further by a widely publicised prediction that another huge earthquake will hit the fractured city on March 20 :
Mr Ring, who lives in Auckland, uses the moon, sun and tidal activity for the basis of his theories, which have been dismissed by scientists.

His warning is clear.

"If I lived in Christchurch, I'd get out for a few days over that time, go camping, visit friends, just get out and keep safe," he said.

"And if you don't live there, stay away."

Mr Ring claims he got it right last time :

On Valentine's Day, he issued a tweet stating that conditions were "potent" for a quake in Christchurch between February 15 and 25.

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck on February 22, killing as many as 240 people.

Eerily, he warned people to watch for "special signs", such as silent birds or scared pets, and said "stay away from old cracked buildings".
The day when scientists can accurately predict the eruption of an earthquake below a city will be one of the pinnacles of our understanding of this planet's thin, unstable skin that we base our entire existence upon.

But you do have to wonder, if it was known, say, 10 hours before it hit that a magnitude 7 quake was going to rip apart Los Angeles or Sydney, would a city wide evacuation even be attempted? Could authorities cope with the evacuation of millions of people in half a day?

Will we see a day when city evacuations are rehearsed in anticipation of earthquakes scientifically, accurately, predicted to hit within the next year or two?

For tens of thousands still trying to live in Christchurch, life after February 22 quake has gone back to the 18th century. There is no electricity, water is fetched and carted home, toilets are backyard holes or a long walk to a communal commode.

From the New Zealand Herald :

Blogger Peter Hyde, who lives in the south-east of Christchurch, said he was living in "refugee city".

It was populated by 50,000 to 100,000 people who have been living on broken streets with little access to power, water, gas and other services, he said.

"Their houses may or may not be intact. Their streets may be clear, broken, or full of silt. Or sewage. There are no showers. Or ways to wash clothes. Or to wash dishes. Or to heat the "must boil" water that is available - assuming they can make it to the nearest water truck, day after day. No refrigeration. No working toilets, and precious few portaloos. No face masks to defend against the blown silt.

"They have no internet either, and usually no phones. And their radio batteries are dead or dying."