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GETTING OUT OF CHRISTCHURCH February 25, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Environment.
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I hope to see on Facebook that my sister’s grand daughter and her family have successfully and have arrived safely in Nelson by air. If so they will be part of the exodus of people leaving the city after the earthquake.

Nelson is one option,Timaru, Blenheim, and other destinations. Helen Murdoch in the Nelson Mail reports:

Two Christchurch families relaxed in Nelson’s sun yesterday after fleeing Christchurch within hours of the devastating quake.

Andrea and Roy Scrimshaw and their daughter, Anita Gourley, her husband, Steve and their three young children are among the hundreds of Cantabrians now staying in the Nelson region. More are expected to arrive during the coming days.

The Scrimshaws and Gourleys left the city on Tuesday and drove until they reached Nelson’s Tahuna Beach Holiday Park. The women said they did not give a second thought to leaving the city and their trashed homes.
“We had no power, phone or sewerage. The schools are closed and we knew there would be major aftershocks so why stay,” said Mrs Gourley.

Neither of the families’ homes were severely damaged, but everything breakable was smashed, they said.
“All the furniture in the bedrooms is over, the fridge-freezer has shifted into the middle of the kitchen and water is coming through a crack in the garage floor,” said Mrs Gourley.

She and her husband were working from home when the quake struck.

“It felt more aggressive than the first one,” she said.

They collected their children from a nearby school and pre-school and their youngest from Mr Gourley’s parents in Dallington before making the decision to leave the city.

“We spent 20 minutes making a list, chucked everything in the car and left,” said Mrs Gourley.

“We knew from the last quake that there would be big aftershocks for the next few days and didn’t want the kids to go through that.”

Staff at the couple’s Moorhouse Ave property survived the quake, but they do not know the fate of a commercial building they just purchased in the central city, or how their two rental properties have survived, she said.

Mrs Scrimshaw said their Merrivale home was not badly damaged but the force of the earthquake was terrifying.
“Everything that wasn’t broken in the first quake went in this one.”

Neighbours were loading their cars and leaving as they drove away, she said.

“I’m not happy to go back to Christchurch, but I will because of the grandkids,” she said.

Their husbands plan to return to the city in a few days but the women plan to remain in Nelson for the next couple of weeks.

Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene said it had been a busy 24 hours, with itineraries needing to be rescheduled for travellers who had planned to go to Christchurch and those needing to leave. Most beds in Nelson were full, she said.

Ms Keene expects the next few days to become even busier.

“I think that we will see a lot of people arriving here in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

But commercial accommodation was already tight with summer visitors and tours, she said.

John Gilbertson, of the Nelson Branch of the New Zealand Motels Association, said nearly all the region’s 600 motel beds were full last night. The trend was similar to peak summer demand.

Mr Gilbertson said he drove up from Christchurch yesterday in a constant stream of north-bound traffic.

“Families are getting out of the city and I believe we will start seeing them today.”

Valda Holland, of Tahuna Beach Holiday Park, said the phone had rung constantly since the quake.

“We’ve had three people full time on the phones,” she said yesterday afternoon.

“One woman rang 15 minutes after the quake saying she was getting out.

Meanwhile, Maitai Valley Motor Camp manager Carol Wood is offering free, non-powered campsites to Christchurch residents. People started arriving yesterday and she expected more today.

Lewis Pass Motors owner Pete Gibbs said a constant flow Christchurch traffic started heading towards Nelson within an hour of the quake. Some cars bore the obvious marks of quake damage, he said.

Most of the drivers he spoke to were heading to Nelson.

By way of parenthesis, Nelson is a summer holiday destination for many people in Christchurch. My niece reported that many people were very distressed. Of course, that is what might be expected but her reference to the stories of people makes it more poignant for me.

UPDATE:

My sister advised that they arrived about 6.30 last night. They were tired and just wanted to have a bath. They have now gone on to say with grandma in Blenheim.

CODA:

Then there is the sad story of Louise Amantillo sending text messages home to her parents in the Philippines.

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