Saturday, 16 February 2013

Caught in the Christchurch earthquake By Sean Prakash Senior Campus

Nine years ago in 2003 mum and dad said to my sister and I that we were going to move to New Zealand. I was surprised and excited and so was my sister. My dad’s family was living in New Zealand that’s why we were planning to move. After all the applications for the passports was finished, we left our small country Fiji for good in 2004.

Half way across the ocean I started to cry because I started to miss my hometown and all my friends. I realised that I wasn’t going to see Fiji for a very long time.

We arrived in New Zealand in the evening and it was beautiful. After about six months living with my aunty we settled down near a beach and my dad started his own small business, a fish ‘n’ chips shop. My sister and I were going to school and my mum was working part time and helping my dad around the shop. Later, in 2009, we finally got our New Zealand citizenship.

Life there was great, even better as the years went by. I started to play basketball for a team, go surfing a lot, and my dad joined up at a gym. I was living my life very happily. But then lots of things changed on 4th of September 2010. At 4:00 am in the morning a 7.1 earthquake struck Christchurch where we were living. Luckily, no one in the family died, but from that day life in Christchurch wasn’t the same. Every day there were aftershocks followed by aftershocks. 
As the days went by we began to cope with the aftershocks and months later Christchurch was getting back to the way it used to be. On 22nd February 2011 I took a day off school and was in my dad’s shop eating ice cream. My dad had gone off to buy something and my mum was watching TV in the shop. And then this big roaring sound came at first and then a split second later this massive shake happened, a 6.3 earthquake. My ice cream was flung out of my hand and my mum and I ran as fast as we could and got outside. Everything was shaking and wobbling. We saw many people running, screaming, and crying. My whole body was shaking. 

My dad also ran to us and he too was very scared. About 10 minutes later we went to my uncle’s house. As we drove there we saw that the road was cracked and water was spurting out of the ground from broken water pipes. Small shakes continued while dad was driving and It took about an hour to get there, usually it takes about 10 minutes to get to my uncle’s.

My sister texted my mum’s phone and said she was all right and her friend’s dad dropped her at my uncle’s house about 4 hours later. On the road sand was everywhere and lots of places were flooded. The tap was not working and the electricity was not working either. Then it started raining so we collected a lot of water. And we made food by using the gas stove. 

That was the scariest moment of my life. For days my family and I couldn’t go to sleep properly, or eat. This time more than 100 people died and were injured. Thankfully my family was all right.

Mum and my sister were very scared and my mum didn’t want to live in New Zealand anymore. Days after the earthquake electricity started to be reconnected but water was not drinkable from the tap. Our house was so badly damaged that we couldn’t live there anymore. About a month later mum and dad booked tickets to Australia. We packed all our stuff and left New Zealand for good. 

So we started a new life hear in Melbourne. So far everything is good. My sister and I started going to the same school, dad got a good job and mum is working part time and doing a Level 3 Aged Care course. But sometimes when a small shake happens anywhere -  like when a bus stops or someone is coming up the stairs -  it reminds me of the Christchurch earthquake. The experience of the earthquake is the worst experience I have ever had - but in some ways it was awesome.

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