We are here on the South Island of New Zealand right near where a devastating earthquake hit. And years later, the city is still in the throes of a recovery.
On Tuesday February 22, 2011 at 12.51 p.m. Christchurch was badly damaged by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, which killed 185 people and injured several thousand.
The earthquake occurred at lunchtime, when many people were on the city streets. More than 110 fatalities were caused by the collapse of two multi-storey office buildings – the Canterbury Television and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings. Falling bricks and masonry on Manchester Street and Cashel Mall killed 11 people, and six died in two city buses crushed by crumbling walls. Rock cliffs behind houses collapsed in the Sumner and Redcliffs area, and boulders tumbled down the Port Hills, with five people killed by falling rocks.
Although not as powerful as the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on in 2010, this earthquake occurred on a fault line that was shallow and close to the city, so the shaking was particularly destructive. In the February 2011 quake, the fault movement and structure of the bedrock produced exceptionally strong ground motion – up to 1.8 times the acceleration due to gravity in the eastern suburbs. In the city center, ground accelerations were three to four times greater than those produced by the 2010 earthquake.