They feel like the forgotten victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

As the city appears to be getting back on its feet 19 days after the 7.1 magnitude quake - with the city centre, shops and schools reopened - weary residents in the ravaged riverside suburb of Avonside struggle on in "third world" conditions.

They are living in cracked and damaged homes, without sewerage and drainage, uncertain about the water coming out of the taps, getting sick from the contaminated silt around them and worried about their futures.

Yesterday their frustrations boiled to the surface as about 100 rallied in a cracked and silt-covered cul-de-sac to make their plight known.

"Christchurch is not fixed," said resident Karron Gosney.

"It's not all right, and it's not okay."

Angry residents shared stories of having sewage in their homes, having no running water and being turned away wherever they sought help.

Under the media glare, politicians sprung up pledging to fight for them, and the earthquake recovery team promised it was doing all it could.

"I would want to assure every one of them they are not forgotten," said an emotional recovery team spokesman Mark Christison.

Resident and rally organiser Angela Wasley said her cul-de-sac felt like a third world country or warzone.

"It's absolutely exhausting. It feels like you have gone camping, and the campsite hasn't quite got the right utilities. We've got power ... but nothing else. Water comes and goes. So you can't wash, you can't flush the toilet.

"You don't really want to be in the area, because it feels like it has been demolished, and it feels broken. You don't want to not stay in your house because there's burglaries.

"We've got this contaminated silt flying around everywhere which we can't wash off, and it's getting into our throats. We've had sore throats for about 10 days now."

Ms Wasley, who lives with her 7-year-old son and father, said she did not know whether her home would have to be demolished, and where she would go next. The aftershocks meant the "cracks keep widening".

Ms Gosney has slept in her damaged Housing New Zealand property in the largely deserted cul-de-sac every night since the earthquake.

"As much as we want the people of Canterbury to get back to normal, they have got to realise that a lot of us are living worse now than what a lot of people were day one of the quake.

"We are not a rich neighbourhood. A lot of us do not have access to bank loans or overdrafts or credit cards. So we are trying to do it out of our benefits."

Ms Gosney uses a shower at a local gym and a toilet at a local shopping centre.

"We don't all have friends and family that can put us up."

But a New Zealander living in Concepcion, Chile, is not impressed by the "moaning" from Christchurch people. The Chilean city suffered more severe damage when rocked by a 8.8 magnitude quake in February.

"People over here had it far worse than at home, but I think they moaned about it a whole lot less," Kane Crewther said.