‘Canterbury Earthquake’- Dongyi, 11, Wharenui School

One Saturday morning, I experienced a natural disaster, the first in my life! It was an exciting day, but it was also terrifying.

I was at home expecting a normal day but I got more than I bargained for, this is my experience.

On Saturday 4th of September 2010 I was happily snoozing away in bed, without a care in the world, then at 4:35am I was disturbed in my sleep by the sound of my mother’s wind-chimes and a roar that sounded like a hundred freight trains echoed through my house and a lot of my things fell down. After, my family were all awake and my mum shouted “Earthquake!”

Almost immediately, I shot out of bed and got dressed, next my family and I gathered up in the middle of my house.

I wasn’t frightened much but I was worried about our house collapsing. After checking if we were all OK we then rushed outside and went on the street. It was cold outside, almost freezing. We then looked at the damage the earthquake had done, we had no structural damage, we lived near the mall and I saw that the HOYTS light went out and the only letters that were lit were T and S. My mother then went to check on our neighbours to see if they were alright. Luckily I had brought out my flashlight before we evacuated and I saw that the stone wall beside our neighbour’s house had collapsed. Soon, we finally went back home and went back to bed. My dad told me and my brother, Roger to open our doors so we can easily run out if there was another earthquake.

Eventually another jolt rocked my house and I had to get out of bed and I went back to the hallway. I was drained and yawning. My dad called our landlord and had a conversation with him. Then my brother started sobbing and thought he could never go back to sleep. Next, the aftershocks stopped for a while and we went back to bed. Luckily, I slept through most of the later aftershocks.

It was a very strange day for me, it was my very first earthquake. We had no power that following day so we didn’t know what had happened. I was glad the 7.1 magnitude earthquake was over and I eventually I got used to the aftershocks, although the big ones still scare me, but that earthquake is an experience I’ll never forget.

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