Spent the afternoon walking around Christchurch.
Four years ago, when we last visited, we were totally stunned at how much damage remained visible from the 2011 earthquake. Many buildings we’re still in a collapsed state, and frankly some areas of the CBD had a post-apocalyptic feel.
The earthquake of 2011, resulted in the deaths of 185 people and the damage or complete collapse of thousands of buildings across the city. Although the earthquake was registered at a relatively medium magnitude 6.3, the actual shaking was amongst the most violent ever recorded in an urban area.
We can report that many of the scars we witnessed four years ago appear to be slowly healing. Although signs of the quake can still be seen at innumerable places there is a bustling new food and retail district, a lot of new buildings are well under construction or newly minted, and the city seems to have an overall cleaner and more positive vibe.
But I get the feeling that healing here is a slow process. At an estimated cost of 40 billion NZ dollars to rebuild the city, it is a process that has been drawn out in a tangle of beurocracy and politics, and intense debate over exactly what directions new development should take.
And just when it seems progress was being made, the whole thing torn open again by the terrorist shootings at a local Mosque in March this year that resulted in the deaths of another 51 people.