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City in ruins -

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City in ruins

Broadcast: 24/02/2011

Reporter: Conor Duffy

While the world's attention has been focused on the heart of Christchurch, people living on the
city's fringes are counting the cost too. Conor Duffy reports from the outlying areas of


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: While the world's attention has been focused on the heart of
Christchurch, people living on the city's fringes are counting the cost too. The ABC's Conor Duffy
filed this report from one of the hardest hit areas in the outlying suburbs.

CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: I'm here with long-time resident Robyn Judkins who's lived in the beachside
town of Sumner for 24 years. Robyn, what sort of things have you noticed in the area around you?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Oh, the collapse of cliffs for a start, so burying cars in Sumner, which is the
suburb I live right beside the sea here. And first of all there's that, and then I was actually,
when it happened I was driving and I was just approaching Ferrymead Bridge, 10 metres away when the
bridge lifted up in front of me and then the road just cracked in front of me and I slewed over to
the side, everybody else pulled in behind and then the rocks started to fall off all around us. And
it was most extraordinary. I've seen snow avalanches, but this is the first time I've ever seen
massive rockfalls everywhere. It's been devastating in this particular suburb.

CONOR DUFFY: And how are people coping?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Well, generally speaking we got warmed up to this last year when we had the first
big earthquake, which was 7.1 and we didn't get so badly hit then. So it's all relative and you
think, "Oh, I survived this 7.1." You get hit with this 6.4 or whatever it was, but it's so close.
The epicentre is just over here in Lyttelton, just over the hills and it's been mind-boggling for
everybody here.

CONOR DUFFY: And how are you personally coping? What's your situation at the moment? You look like
you got some pretty serious damage here?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Yeah, I think it's going to be touch and go whether the house will survive, whether
it'll have to be taken down or not. I've had two chimneys fall out completely here, but the
devastation inside the house has been quite dramatic and particularly at the front. But the reason
for that is that, bingo, I'm right on the faultline, the cracks run right through the centre of my
house, they run across the road outside and they run straight on out towards the cliffs at Sumner
Beach where all of those cliffs came down. You know, it's been - and this is a direct line through
to Lyttelton. I'm sitting right on it. So, you know, whether I'll be able to stay here or not, I
don't know.

CONOR DUFFY: So this is the inside of your writing room, Robyn?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Yeah, and this is where the earthquake struck first and it hit right on this corner
and smacked straight into my writing room and brought down the first chimney and then the second
chimney in the lounge. And I mean, this is what every room in my house looked like when I came back
and walked in the front door. I couldn't actually get from one side of my house and upstairs for
two hours. It took two hours to make a path so that I could happily go up and down again. I mean,
this is amazing, this is at least a day to fix it? - no, just to get the rubbish out. It's mostly
all rubbish now.

When the earthquake struck, it struck right through the corner point of the north - the south-east
corner of my property in a direct line from Lyttelton and tore these cracks, tore the concrete pad
apart, and the second aftershock widened it even further and then dropped this section here down.
It also separated the pad from the garage and it went straight through and on and up and through
the corner of my house and then on and over onto the cliffs above Sumner Beach.

CONOR DUFFY: And how are the people here coping in the community? Do you think people'll stay after
two quakes in six months?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Two quakes in six months - hell, everybody's really, really shocked. No-one thought
it would happen again and they just - people, they can take so much and then they just get brittle
and irritable. And at the moment we've got no power, no sewer, no telephone. We have to walk down
or drive down to collect water, don't have any sewerage, so you've got to - you dig a hole in the
ground or you keep it in a pan at home. And, um, you know, I haven't had anything hot to eat. Oh,
yes, I have! I got two pies yesterday. I lucked out. There was a shop open. You drive through
Christchurch - I was looking for water, and suddenly there was a guy - I see a guy walking out of a
convenience store. What! Slam on the brakes, inside, two pies, straightaway. Dead set. Oh, two
pies! Australian pies even! Can you believe it? Australian pies! Good old CER!

CONOR DUFFY: Good on ya.

ROBYN JUDKINS: Conor Duffy with that report.