It brings it home to you

23 02 2011

Just two weeks before we moved to NZ, on 4th September, an earthquake, greater than 7.1 magnitude, hit the Canterbury region. We didn’t think twice about our move, even after that. After all, earthquakes aren’t that scary. The ground just moves around a bit. Right?

Well, after today’s follow up quake, only 6.3, but it’s proximity meant it was more damaging, we can see the devastating effect a quake really can have.

Unlike the first big one, this happened in the middle of the day, when the CBD was packed and people were going about their daily business. This one was fatal.

After the first day, the confirmed death toll is 65, with many others hanging onto their lives by the slimmest shred of hope or health as they lie trapped under some collapsed building. This might not seem like a devastating loss to those in other parts of the world. But to NZ, a sparsely populated country of communities, rather than towns and cities, this is obviously devastating.

And this time we’ve got ringside seats.

One thing that continues to amaze me about this country is it’s people. Rather than and every man for himself mentality we’ve witnessed so often, here everyone is a person who may need help. Everyone is a friend.

TV images show bystanders sawing away at crushed cars in an attempt to free those trapped inside. Or carrying the injured on makeshift stretchers to ensure they receive attention.

Whilst we’re not directly affected, it reminds us of one of the many reasons we chose to move here. The warmth, friendliness and compassion that oozes out of the pores of Kiwis.

As we live in Wellington, we really ought to put our minds to our own disaster plan. We sit on some mega fault lines that would rip through the city like a knife through butter if the big one found it’s way to our part of paradise. That’s not to belittle what’s going on with our neighbours, but it’s well recognised that Welly, with it’s historic high rises and reclaimed land, probably wouldn’t fare too well.

My heart goes out to all Cantabrians tonight, dealing with whatever hell they’re faced with tonight. May God give you the strength to keep going.

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