Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Earthquake

Another huge earthquake hit Christchurch a couple of hours ago, and tragically this time there have been multiple fatalities. I was at work in Wellington and a few of us felt the earthquake, but just very slight swaying- we didn't realise that it actually had been an earthquake until the report came through. Wellington's on a separate island to Christchurch, about 400km away I believe. Had to leave work to meet a friend at the end of my shift and have a lot of work to do tonight. Is super difficult to stay focused though, keep turning back to the live TV coverage which has been horrifying. Had a big cry before and cuddled Wallace- I've cried before over tragic international stories, but it's so different when it's in your country, and news footage is full of fellow New Zealanders. Just seeing the familiar Police and Fire Service uniforms on workers attempting to rescue people trapped in collapsed buildings makes it very, very real. Thankful for now that the few people I know in Christchurch are alright, but who knows who could be there on holiday. I don't think there will be many people in NZ who don't know someone affected by this.

International readers, if you want to see more go to news website Stuff here, or the Twitter stream is here.
Image source here.

Update: 65 people have been confirmed dead so far.

Update: There's a list of missing people here. Thanks for your comments- it is fortunate that while we have a very small population, the country's physical size isn't as small as people overseas probably think. Basic geography lesson? Alright then.

NZ is two main islands; North and South. I'm sure if you're not familiar with the layout of the country, you can do a quick Google and see that the two islands are quite long but not terribly wide, and together make a bit of a banana shape. The earthquake occurred in Christchurch, which is (very) roughly in the middle of the South Island, close to the east coast. My city, Wellington, is at the very bottom of the North Island. We felt the 'quake very slightly here, though many people I've spoken to didn't feel it at all. Fortunately maybe around 2/3 (possibly more) of the country's population live in Wellington or north of Wellington (Auckland is our largest city by a large margin).

I absolutely cry for the people still missing, those confirmed dead, and all their family members and friends. I think we can be thankful that it happened in quite a flat city, where the population is spread out, but that's of little compensation. Also, it's so awful that these people survived the other huge 'quake in September, followed by months of literally hundreds of aftershocks, only to have this happen.

Also, am not meaning to be patronising with my geography lesson! I just understand that it's hard to imagine somewhere if you haven't been there. I used to have a penpal in Fiji, somewhere I've never been, and which in my mind was the tiniest country- so when there was a natural disaster there I imagined she would have felt the effects of it, and then it turned out she was a surprisingly large distance away- maybe I'm just ignorant!

Has been great to see everyone communicating online following this earthquake- Twitter is an amazing tool in such events. I'm going to get ready for work now- I imagine it's going to be a very trying day monitoring new developments. Hopefully there will be trapped survivors rescued; could do with some happy tears. Even doing this minor-media job, where I'm viewing and listening to news all day but not actually reporting or researching, makes me realise I could never be a journalist. The TV coverage has been absolutely incredible, and I have huge respect for TV3 anchorwoman Hilary Barry. If you come across any videos of her online from yesterday, check them out. She was on air almost constantly for many hours yesterday and did a phenomenal job.

Okay, work for real now!

Update: Our Prime Minister John Key has declared a national state of emergency here in NZ, and it is reported that 75 bodies have now been recovered.

6 comments:

Joanna said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That's horrible! I had no idea...I didn't watch the news today. It's a good thing you're alright.
My prayers go out to everyone affected

Lauren said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That's so awful. It must be horrible when it's happening so close to you.

Han said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I hear New Zealand and earthquake and my heart jumps in my throat. My housemates family live near Taranaki (I think I told you that before.) As you can imagine they are close to my heart.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Additional to the geography lesson. New Zealand is actually larger in area than the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Norther Ireland.

Alice said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Yes, that's true- thank you for your input!

Han said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Anon - there was a quake here a few years back and the epicentre was near Birmingham (about 3 hours away by car).

We could feel the quake and my wardrobe was shaking and woke me up that was a 5 or 6 I think.