New Zealand’s Earthquake as seen through kid eyes

Twas’ the night before Monday,

And all through the house, not a wind gust was stirring, not even the spouse.

The dishes were propped by the cleaned sink with care

In hopes that a chaos free morning soon will be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of hiking danced in their heads,

And THEN THE HOUSE BEGAN TO SHAKE …….

It started at 12:01 AM. I was waking up at the end part. My hanging lamp hitting the roof like someone knocking at my door. My mom yelling afterwards to see if my family was OK. They were fine. My heart was pumping hard. We went downstairs and things were everywhere. Me and my family cleaned up for a little while. My sister wanted to sleep over. So I said yes. I couldn’t sleep because every five seconds an aftershock would come.  It was a long night – Evan, 10yrs old
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Last night was one of the scariest things I have ever live through. The shakes of the house, the sounds of the objects falling over, and the sirens blaring in my ears. It was something I will never forget. It started when I got jerked awake to 12:02 AM, November 14, 2016. At first, I was thinking that something just fell and I should go back to sleep. Then I felt the mass of the entire earth moving my bedroom around, the squealing doors, glass smashing to the ground. My heart beating so fast I couldn’t think straight. I was like I needed to get out of here, I’m going to die, our building is going to snap in half, what do I do??? The squeals were getting louder and louder and the building was shaking so vigorously I could not see straight. My body shifted in my bed so hard that my head hit the wall behind me. My nightstand fell with loud crash, books went flying everywhere. Then the ear piercing screech of metal hitting wall.  Turns out it was a moped standing on the other side of my bedroom wall. I just kept pleading in my head please make it stop, please! The earthqake was going on for what felt like hours but later found out it was 40 seconds, a lifetime. After most of the shaking stopped, I heard the shouts of my mom frantically yelling “is everyone OK, is everyone OK.” She burst through my door and wrapped me into a giant bear hug.  Our hearts were beating together at miles per hour. Once we were gathered, we walked down stairs holding onto each other. Allie got out of her room to come and join us. We walked around the house and found water bottles spilling, shattered glass, broken eggs, drawers hanging open, and our fridge had magically walked a few feet forward. I stared in shock as everyone start to clean up the glass. Then came the aftershocks. It scared us so bad, Allie and I grabbed each other. We decided that since we all felt scared we would have a sleepover. All night the aftershocks kept coming, some so bad I jumped onto Allie’s bed. The constant shake hurt my stomach. I was up most of the night. The next morning all felt fine except for few hundred aftershocks. School was canceled and everyone felt like trash. We walked down the street (even though we’re not supposed to) and saw bricks, concreted, and tons of glass on the ground. Once we returned, we organized our earthquake meeting place. This whole day has…… Wow, we are having one right now and I’m shaking so much I can barely write. I got to go to the meeting spot….  – Jake, 13yrs old

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Sunday, November 13, 2016, we all went to bed at 9:30 PM. A few hours later, I began having this horrible nightmare. I was in an apartment with people running around in the floors above me. I felt the room shaking but I couldn’t escape. Suddenly, I was jerked awake by my dad and quickly realized that I had been gripping my bed so hard as the room shook around us. My bed had been squeaking. My mind was very disoriented and I began shaking uncontrollably as daddy hugged me. While wrapped in daddy’s arms, I heard the rest of the family come in. It was an earthquake!  A big one! Quickly we all rushed into the kitchen. Taking in my surroundings, I saw the pantry had collapsed, papers and food everywhere. Our homemade desk has shifted to the middle of the room. I thought how nice the kitchen had looked after dinner when we all had cleaned.  It was now a disaster. As I stood there, the ground shook again.  Jake and I held each other. The aftershocks began. Mom and dad were cleaning as we heard a knock at the door. The neighbour had come to check in on us. Once he left, we walked around the rest of the apartment looking for other signs a destruction. The moped had fallen over and dented the wall, the ceilings were cracked, and in closets clothes were everywhere. The aftershocks continued.  Jake and Evan decided to sleep in my room. We moved Jake’s mattress down to my room. That’s when I saw what a disaster my room was: the shelves were shifted and all my stuff was thrown on my bed. The lamp on my pillow. The pictures of my friends were on the ground.  A series of huge aftershocks continued and I was up until 3AM, a ball of nerves. When we woke up the next morning  everything was closed and aftershocks continued to be extremely severe. There was a tsunami warning. No one was allowed outside …. – Allie, 15yrs old

These are journal entries written by my 3 children the morning after the earthquake.  Raw, unedited, unprompted, real thoughts by 3 scared children who survived their first earthquake.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

Ana-Maria Temple, MD


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