Kiwi escapes Chch and Japan quakes

22:34, Mar 11 2011
Jo-anne George
Kiwi Jo-anne George was in both the Christchurch quake on February 22 and the latest quake in Japan

Sleep won't come tonight, says a New Zealander who has escaped both the devastating Christchurch quake and now the Japan earthquake.

Jo-Anne George was in Christchurch on February 22 and arrived home in Tokyo on Tuesday. She was in her apartment when this evening's magnitude 8.8 quake hit.

"Really scary after being there in CHCH when that one struck, now here in Tokyo. We are in a 43 story building, that is structurally sound, on rolling foundations and still I clung to my door way praying it would just stop."

Eddie and Josh Clarke
SCARY TIME: Eddie and Josh Clarke. Eddie was at kindergarten in Tokyo when water and mud started flowing up through the ground.

She said she was two blocks from Tokyo Tower and seeing that sway made her more frightened.

"Sleep won't happen tonight. There seem to be several fires, with large black clouds in the air. Not good, but not as bad as Christchurch."

Are you a Kiwi in Japan who experienced the earthquake or tsunami? Share your stories and photos - Click here to contact the Stuff newsroom.


Around 756 Kiwis are registered on Safe Travel as living in Japan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It is not known how many are based in Tokyo and the ministry earlier tonight estimated around 100 New Zealanders were in the area closest to the epicentre.


Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo was checking the whereabouts and safety of New Zealanders thought to be in the four most affected prefectures of northeast Japan.

New Zealanders with concerns about family in Japan should try to contact them directly in the first instance.

If they cannot make contact and they are known to be in the northeast of Japan they should contact MFAT on 0800 432 111.  If calling from overseas call +64 4 439 8000.

Officials advised that the telephone lines are overloaded in Tokyo and consular staff themselves are having difficulty getting through.

Murray Clarke said his son Eddie, was at kindergarten in Tokyo when water and mud started flowing up through the ground.

"At one point it was up to his waist so he was quite petrified by the time he got to safety. Now he is at home with big brother Josh but sporting a high fever and in a bit of shock."


Paul Dodd, another Kiwi in Tokyo, said via Facebook that the building "shook for what seemed forever".

"Lots of broken plates, crockery and things fallen off shelves. Thankfully nobody injured. We're told the epicentre is

about 350km from Tokyo and Miyaji prefecture where the tsunamis are hitting. We are still getting aftershocks.

Everything is down, phones, trains, elevators (thank god for the internet). It's mostly an inconvenience here in Tokyo."

Brendan Dyer emailed Stuff to say that he had survived the Christchurch earthquake and now his brother is in the Japan quake.

"I just hope he is okay," he said.

Zane Inglis, from Lower Hutt but who lives in Ibaraki north of Tokyo, said the quake was the biggest he had ever felt.

"It was crazy, the four lane elevated highways in front of the building I was in was flapping almost like a flag in the wind."

"At first my friend and I were the only ones who noticed that it just hit like a clap of thunder and the shaking just got more and more intense.

"With 40 stories above us and about six stories of subways below us we just decided to run for somewhere away from the tall buildings.

"When we got outside people were holding on to sign posts just to stay upright. Even though it was hard to move against we just ran up the hill to flat area with no tall buildings.

He said he had experienced a lot of quakes in both Japan and in Wellington, but this was "by far the biggest."

"Massive smoke cloud visible in the back ground of Tokyo as night falls following the massive earthquake this afternoon," he said.

"Trains are still stopped, millions of people on the street trying to figure out how to get home to their families, this Kiwi included."