One year on in earthquake devastated Christchurch, New Zealand - once one of the jewels in the country's tourist crown. The once beautiful garden city is now looking like a recovering bomb zone.
On the day the city marked its first anniversary of the first devastating earthquake on September 4 2010, it was hit by a 4.4 aftershock located 20km west and comparatively shallow at 7km deep.
While there were no deaths and only two serious injuries in this first earthquake which occurred about 4am in the morning while the city slept, in February 2011 the second earthquake of 6.6 and much shallower than the first killed 181 people shortly before 12 noon when people were out and about, working, shopping, doing business etc. It injured many more and basically finished off the devastation of the South Island's largest city's CBD and further damaged hundreds of homes in the eastern suburbs.
About 300 buildings have been demolished with a further 200 under the hammer. There are literally city blocks of land lying desolate and quiet witnesses to the destruction of the beautiful garden city
The city has been hit by the two major earthquakes, and 75oo aftershocks during the last year, some of which warrant the description of earthquakes themselves because of their strength and destructive power.
Just this week the Government's ministers met in the first cabinet meeting held outside Wellington in 16 years to give them an insight into what has happened in Christchurch, and to see where billions of dollars will have to be spent in rebuilding the southern city.
Insurers will not issue any new policies until they are satisfied the aftershocks have ceased. Nobody can predict when that will happen; so many of the city's homes and commercial buildings will not be insured.
Many homeowners in the city have learned that they will have a shortfall in what they receive in payouts from the EQ Commission and insurance companies, and what they need to purchase new properties.
The Government had already promised homeowners that nobody will lose any equity in their properties - a shallow promise as it has turned out. Some people may have to shift to rental properties, if they can find some in a city that is running short of rental properties in any case.
Many of the existing rental properties have also been badly damaged and may have to be demolished as well. Many residents are looking for properties elsewhere in the Canterbury region, or in other towns in both the South and North Islands. Many people have basically fled with their families from Christchurch because of the continuing aftershocks. Stress is becoming a leading health problem for people who had to endure one of the coldest winters in nearly two decades as well.
One year on, as a person who was born and raised in Christchurch, and still has family there,I am still emotionally affected every time I see the devastation on television. I silently cry for the city of my birth!