Christchurch Earthquake

Yesterday, Christchurch people were startled by a 5.7 earthquake. It was a strong shake. It was a sharp reminder of the devastating earthquake nearly 5 years ago. Like all strong earthquakes, it was followed by a series of after-shocks which continued during the afternoon and into the night. However, most of those were minor.

Fortunately, there was no serious damage yesterday. Rocks fell from the cliffs at Sumner into the sea. Also at Sumner, rocks fell from a cliff near a main road but they fell onto shipping containers which have been beside the road for five years. The mayor said that the city is stronger than it was five years ago. Many old buildings have gone. New houses have better foundations. The Earthquake Minister, Gerry Brownlee, said that the new buildings were very, very strong and he was not expecting any damage.

Scientists say that any area of New Zealand could have a similar earthquake at any time. Our country could be called “the shaky isles”. We need to be prepared for an emergency.

(Note: Many shipping containers were placed on the edge of roads near cliffs 5 years ago to protect cars and people if rocks fell.)


• startled (adj) – suddenly surprised and frightened; startle (v)
• devastating (adj) – killed 182 people and caused terrible damage; devastate (v)
• minor adj) – not important, opposite of major
• foundations (n) – a house sits on the foundations, usually made of concrete

Note: Many adjectives from verbs have two forms: – ing for the thing referred to, -ed for the person e.g. a startling noise, people were devastated. Here are some other adjectives which work the same way: amusing/ed, annoying/ed, interesting/ed, tiring/ed. Maybe you can think of others.


How can you prepare for an emergency? The November earthquake in 2010 occurred during the night when it was dark. Houses lost electricity and water. Think about how you could manage without electricity or water.

The February earthquake occurred at lunchtime when people were at work or at school. Think about how you could find family and friends. Cell phones messages may not get through if the system is overloaded.


  1. if i meet a earthquake during the night i will use a torch and bright the dark,then use a megaphone(the electric by battey) help more people in dark and quake.

    if i meet a earthquake in lunchtime and my cell phones are overloaded i can write some message in the paper and put it in anywhere to tell friends and family the true situation, then look for a safety area like a wide ground to stay in.

  2. Firstly, I will calm their emotions, and will try to open space , call relatives or friends phone number, if the call fails , I will send a text message . If conditions permit, I’ll run over to local friends or relatives work to find them.

  3. If I meet a earthquake during the night I will bright the light, bring some food and water.

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