Remembering the Earthquake

Today is three years since that terrible earthquake in Christchurch which killed 185 people. Memorial services were held in many places today with 2 minutes silence at 12.51pm, the time of the earthquake.

For those who lost friends or family and for those who were injured, the memory is still strong. For those waiting for repairs to their homes, the earthquake cannot be forgotten.

Meanwhile, the central city, the CBD, looks like a battlefield, except for the Re-Start centre with the brightly coloured container shops. More than 1,000 buildings have been demolished in the CBD and this is still continuing. A few new buildings around the edge of the CBD are now starting to appear.

Many people are asking why it is taking so long to rebuild the city, not only shops and offices in the CBD but also people’s homes all over the city. The first problem was that after-shocks continued – 11,000 after-shocks. How can anyone re-build while there were still earthquakes? Another major problem has been insurance. It has taken insurance companies so long to make decisions about how much to pay for damage. A further problem is the unstable land. So much damage was caused by liquefaction – sandy soil and water coming up from under the ground. This broke foundations of buildings in many places. It takes time for the land under every damaged building to be checked. After that, owners have to make a decision about rebuilding.

Many roads are closed while water and sewage pipes under the roads are repaired. Damaged roads also need repairing.

So what will Christchurch be like in another year? We will have to wait and see.

Listen to May 22nd 2013, February 22nd 2013 and September 4th 2012 for more about the earthquakes in Christchurch. Also look at February and March 2011 in the Archives.


  • CBD – central business district
  • memorial – to remember people who died
  • battlefield – after a war buildings are destroyed
  • demolished – pushed down
  • unstable – too soft, not strong or firm
  • foundations – the base of a building, usually made of concrete


UoC SLB Demolition



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