Already a refugee from her native Bhutan, Indira Bhandari decided to leave Christchurch for the more stable earth of Palmerston North.
“It was always moving and shaking,” she said. “I felt unsafe all of the time.”
Mrs Bhandari and her 9-month-old son, Suvrat Nepal, moved to Palmerston North in January.
They were one of four refugee families believed to have moved to the city because of the Canterbury quakes.
Mrs Bhandari spoke to the Manawatu Standard after a University of Canterbury study was released saying most former refugees in Christchurch had coped well with the earthquakes.
Researchers, led by health science graduate Mohamud Osman, spoke to 105 refugee families who were living in Christchurch at the time of the September 2010 quake.
Three-quarters of participants said they had coped well, with spirituality and religious practice being an important support for many.
Less than 20 per cent said they received support from mainstream relief agencies.
Refugee Services Manawatu area manager Kevin Petersen said the four families who moved after the quakes had settled in well in Manawatu.
Staff from the Manawatu office helped with Refugee Services’ response in Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake.
Mr Petersen said he was not surprised a large proportion of refugees had not sought help from government agencies after the quakes.
“There are language issues, issues of familiarity.”
At times of stress people sought help from those they knew or groups, like Refugee Services, which had helped in the past, Mr Petersen said.
Mrs Bhandari said she received great support in Christchurch, not only from Refugee Services and the Bhutanese community, but also from Civil Defence and Work and Income.
Her home was not damaged in the quake but her suburb was hit by liquefaction, making travel difficult. She also spent seven days without power or running water.
While Mrs Bhandari’s brother still lives in Christchurch and her husband is in Nepal, she does not plan to move back.
“I’m happy here,” she said.
Courtesy : Stuff.co.nz