Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Christchurch Earthquake

One of many buildings that collapsed in Christchurch's city centre.

Apart from a few minor references this post is in no way about anything WoW related. Yesterday, at 12.51pm Christchurch was hit by an Earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale. On the face of it, it looks like just another minor aftershock from the 7.1 Earthquake, the region suffered in September of last year in which there were no fatalities. In truth, this one was more than just an aftershock. It was a killer. It was shallow, at an estimated depth of only 5km (compared to 33km of the September earthquake), and it was closer, its epicentre right underneath the town of Lyttelton, only 10km from Christchurch. So far 75 casualties have been reported, that number is expected to rise, as an estimated 300 people are still missing, either trapped inside buildings or underneath rubble. It has been suggested that this could be New Zealand's darkest hour yet.
The CTV building collapsed, with as many as 50 people trapped inside. Experts say there is no chance of survivability for those trapped.

I immediately attempted to contact friends in the area and am happy to report that they are fine, with only some minor damage to their homes. A much bigger concern is for the friend of my wife, who lives in Christchurch and works in Cathedral Square, the worst affected area of the quake. So far we have not heard back and we will continue to hope and pray for her and all others still missing or trapped. Crazy thoughts run to your head in times like these, but there could be numerous reasons why we are unable to reach her. All we can hope is that they do not involve serious harm.
Christchurch Cathedral, with its spire collapsed
I, personally, am surprised at how emotional I am actually feeling about this tragedy. It was only in May of last year, I was in Christchurch's beautiful Cathedral Square. My wife and I took some lovely photos of ourselves in front of the famous cathedral. Seeing it on TV today, destroyed (its spire collapsed while tourists were still inside), broke my heart. It was one of New Zealand's most cherished landmarks, the heart of Christchurch itself. I'm sure many of you have seen some images of the devastation, which have been shown on News channels all across the world. It looked like a warzone. I truly cannot describe the sadness I felt watching the images of a lifeless body pulled from the rubble. At the time you think "Is this a friend of mine? Do I know this person?" and then you realise, it doesn't matter. What matters is somebody knew this person, this was someone's friend, someone's son or perhaps someones father.
More heavily damaged buildings.
As Christchurch lays in tatters and continues to be flooded due to broken pipes and liquifaction, it is with a heavy heart I write this post, but I felt it important to share this news. It is times like these that remind us of what is truly important, not PC games, not some raid night, or some good deal on the Auction house, but the well-being of those affected. These people witnessed a Shattering first hand. Here in little old Queenstown, I have had my fair share of earthquake scares over the past few years, but I don't think anything could prepare me for an earthquake as devastating as the one that rocked Christchurch yesterday. 
The Pine Gould Corp building, utterly destroyed. Several survivors have been pulled out already and hopes are high for more.
 My condolences and prayers go out to all who are in someway affected by this tragedy. May those who are missing and trapped be found and rescued. May those who are injured be cared for and heal in a timely manner. And may Christchurch be rebuilt and its communities be stronger than ever. All of New Zealand feels for you, the rest of the world feels for you, and together we must and will pull through.
Hundreds of cars and two buses were crushed by falling debris. The buses had people on board.
 I think its fair to say, on behalf of the WoW and Hunter communities, and the blog-o-sphere in New Zealand and around the world, all our thoughts are with you Christchurch.


1 comment:

  1. My prayers and wishes are with those who are in that area also.

    Here in Australia we have been having around the clock coverage of this this disaster ,it's just amazing how much damage it has caused.

    I myself have been through 2 5.something earthquakes and they were bad enough with several lives lost in one but I cannot imagine how the 6.3 felt.