A 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch in February, reducing New Zealand's second-largest city to rubble and claiming the lives of 181 people.
British backpacker Simon Grainger, 36, gives his first-hand account of the chaos, and explains why it still affects him today.
The building wasn't just shaking; it was like a wave. The violence of it, the screams, the lights going out. I knew it was serious straight away.
When the earthquake hit I was with my partner in a food court in the centre of the city. You just kind of follow everyone else. Everyone got under surfaces and I ended up under one of the food counters. I could feel boiling hot soup dripping on me from the table above, burning my lower back. The pain almost took my mind off the earthquake.
Things were just falling down everywhere. The first quake lasted about a minute. Then you have to decide what to do after that. Some people were shouting 'run', because we were in a building. Others were saying stay where you are. They knew there would be a second big shock after. I just decided to run and get out of there.
So much has fallen down. At the time, you don't think about it but, looking back, there were probably people all around, crushed. You're in the middle of the city, and you're thinking anything could fall on top of you. Masonry was just falling everywhere.
We managed to get to Cathedral Square - but the cathedral had collapsed. It was just blitzed. You knew there were probably people in there. There were flattened cars. You just knew that people were crushed everywhere. It was obvious straight away that there would be a lot of fatalities. You can't survive building collapses like those.
I'd been on a round-the-world trip. I'd spent a month travelling around New Zealand and finished in Christchurch. I cut the trip short a few days after leaving the city. It was too traumatic.
You knew from peoples’ reactions that it was really bad. After the first quake, you were just preparing yourself for the next one. It hit 15 minutes later. You knew people were trapped, and then with more damage… it was horrible to just be so helpless. We were just lying on the ground, aware that things were falling down, trying to stay out of the way of anything. All it would take would be for something to land on your head.
We saw one guy being pulled out of a building. He was in a pretty bad way, but there wasn't a lot you could do. Everything was so heavy. You couldn't get to people. There were people split up from partners and you had to just comfort them. It would be late evening back in England - and you wanted to get in touch with people, but there was no signal, nothing.
People in Christchurch are still in a bad way. They'd just got over the last earthquake. Our friends had just sorted their house out and then six months later, it had happened again. I can't imagine how people are feeling.
You see it on TV and think that's awful and then forget about it, but every time there's a bang or a bus goes past the house, the house shakes a tiny bit and your first reaction is just to run. We had aftershocks for a week and that was our response. You just try to get under something. And that's still with us.
Simon Grainger was talking to Anthony Pearce.
More in our 'I was there' series
'I set up camp at St Paul's Cathedral'
'I helped in the battle to overthrow Gaddafi'
'I was tear-gassed in Cairo'
'I travelled 3200 miles to see the Royal Wedding'
'I helped to clear up after the London riots'