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Meopham ex-pat tells of earthquake horror

PUBLISHED: 12:51 19 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:13 19 January 2011

Pictures taken by Keith Hake of the devastation caused by a series of earthquakes in Christchurch

Pictures taken by Keith Hake of the devastation caused by a series of earthquakes in Christchurch

Archant

A huge crater in a village road has caused chaos for residents for two weeks - but, says an ex-pat, the hole is nothing compared with the troubles faced by his family.

Keith Hake, who grew up in Walnut Tree Road, Meopham, moved with his wife Pauline and children, Rebecca and Nathan, to Christchurch, New Zealand almost six years ago.

He contacted the Reporter about a series of huge earthquakes that has devastated the city after reading on our website about the chasm that has opened up in Wrotham Road.

The first quake to hit New Zealand this year, in September, measured a huge 7.1 on the Richter scale and caused mass devastation. Since then the region has experienced almost daily aftershocks and a second earthquake on Boxing Day measuring 4.9.

Mr Hake said: “When the first one struck it was like being inside a pinball machine. The floors were going sideways, the walls bending the other way. My daughter was hiding under her desk in the bedroom. We all rushed out of the house and stood and watched. It was unbelievable.

“On Boxing Day I was out with Rebecca in the shopping mall when it happened. Everyone was rushing trying to get out but I told her to stay in the shop and we took shelter until it was over.”

The 45-year-old carpenter explained he had seen pictures of the Meopham hole, caused by a burst water main, and been amazed to see his former home suffering damage similar to what he is going through.

He said: “With the aftershocks it has almost become normal now. We have adapted pretty quickly. Each night before we go to bed we lie anything valuable on the floor, we’ve got emergency supplies ready in case but life just goes on.

“Some roads are still impassable but a lot of work has been done to repair the area. It is amazing to see similar pictures of damage in Meopham and I just hope the authorities can sort things out there too.”

l Southern Water is carrying out repairs which are expected to be completed by today although this is subject to change due to heavy rain which is hampering work.

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