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The Impact of the First Major Christchurch Earthquake on a Family and Young Child

By Arwen Hann 
© ChildForum


Since my son was born two years ago I have been awake at 4.30am on numerous occasions but none of them has been as disturbing as being awoken by a house which is rattling and shaking.

While the fact that the earthquake happened in the early hours of the morning certainly meant fewer deaths, it also made it much much scarier. My husband and I lay holding hands in our bed, trying to make sense of what was happening – one of the scariest things was not knowing when it would end.

Once the initial shocks were over we tried to assess the state of our house but being without power meant we could only discover damage, by sweeping a torch beam around and it seemed that everywhere we turned something had moved. In the light of day which thankfully dawned sunny and warm, things seemed much better and the damage turned out to be minimal.

We have been lucky, I think, in the fact that our son is really too young to be affected by what has happened. He slept through the first jolt and the following aftershocks in the early hours and knowing he was safe in his cot we left him to sleep.

Our biggest problem in the following hours was a lack of electricity and water. It is hard to explain to a two-year-old that he can’t have toast for breakfast or watch one of his favourite shows on television.

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