Kevin Ring, nicknamed 'Mr Moon Man' by the local media is a weather predictor who bases his prediction on lunar cycles, perhaps something like an astrologer. Some people grow vegetables by his predictions, and his earthquake predictions were reported in some of the New Zealand media. It's estimated that one sixth of the city dispersed after he predicted a third catastrophic event.
Various numbers have been estimated of the number of people that have left the city based on either numbers of known resident turning up in other cities in NZ or from departures on flights: www.dailymail.co.uk
Rapti explained that various articles suggest that approximately 50,000 - 60,000 people left, which represents one sixth of the city. But Mr Moon's prediction of a third catastrophic event for the 20 March 2011 never happened. But the truth is the exact numbers are unknown, no one has done a precise count.
Rapti who was there, saw people streaming out of the city in their cars packed with blankets and other possessions (even their pets). No one knows how many people have returned, however Rapti is aware that many who are wealthy and have holiday homes in Wanaka and other parts of the South Island like Nelson, "have left".
When she walks around the streets there are many notice boards advertising rentals, and these are being snapped up as there remains a shortage of accommodation in the city. 5100 homes have been 'condemned' and another 5000 are waiting a decision. The main problem for New Zealanders is insurance. Large insurers in Australia won't insure properties against future earthquakes because they can't get reinsurance in Europe. Workman are unable to build as it appears as though they cannot obtain contract insurance. I understand that the Minister of the Recovery Effort with a team of experts, have gone to Europe to beg.
The number number of aftershocks since September 2010 is around 1317 (geonet.org.nz). The roads are dirty and dusty from liquid faction. Rapti says, "Nothing is straight here, there seems to be no straight roads or fences, everything looks crooked. Springs of water are coming from I don't know where, simply breaking out."
Recently Rapti was walking through one such area where she could see deep crevasses, where the ground has been thrown up on one side and sunk on the other. The Avon River has to have water pumped out daily because the bed has risen and overflows at high tide.
Christchurch is known as the 'City of Churches'. Many like those in Europe are old style cathedrals. Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, and large Pentecostal churches are well attended on Sundays. One church has a sign: 'Come back to Church'. Rapti explained that "almost" every mainline parish or Cathedral in the city has been seriously damaged by the earthquakes.
Some congregations are beginning to come together. Last week Rapti attended church at the Spreydon Baptist whose Ministry have joined with Grace Vineyard. In the opening address the Minister prayed the Lord's Prayer. As he spoke the words, 'Thy kingdom come' there was a significant jolt. Rapti said " I was sitting at the back with the youth just in front of some large glass windows it felt like they were going to come down on my head but no one moved, they just kept praying."
Rapti Dezoysa, a doctor, has personally confirmed by email (Wednesday, 28 September 2011 6:44 PM), that she personally spoke to the father of a boy (Justice) who drowned, died and then was raised to life, a story that has been circulating, she wrote, through "spirit filled" churches in New Zealand. The boy's father, Rapti said is an itinerant American evangelist travelling New Zealand.
Some have seen this as a sign of the resurrection to life of the city of Christchurch, a city of significant Christian engagement. In my view Jesus the Son of God is the one who has set us free from the power of death and sin. Raising young Justice from death to life amidst the destruction in Christchurch is an awesome reminder "to those" who know Christ's story of two thousand years ago which is just as valid and alive as it is today.
Veronica Harris a qualified nurse who has recently relocated from Tasmania to the Gold Coast closer to her family.