I don’t mind telling you where I was when a sharp aftershock rocked Christchurch this afternoon. I was seated on the throne when the throne started moving rapidly from side to side. It would have been hilarious had it not been so scary! And the reason it was sharply felt was the fact that the aftershock registered only ONE KILOMETER below the surface. This is terrifying! The Sept. 4 quake was 33 kms below the surface. The devastating Feb. 22 quake was only FIVE kms down. Today’s aftershock was ONE kilometer down. I don’t want to think of it getting shallower and shallower. The shallower it is, the more death and devastation it wreaks.
You just don’t want to get caught with your pants down in earthquake-stricken Chch! You feel so helpless, not wanting to be trapped in a place you can’t escape from. TV’s John Campbell of Campbell Live put it very well tonight. He said something to the effect of, “You expect the ground to be solid and depend on it to be firm and unmoving. But for Christchurch, the land has been wildly unpredictable. Imagine living like this for the last five months, never knowing when a violent aftershock will strike.”
Well, there’s no point focusing on the bad news because it just pulls you down! So, how about I give you a Good News sandwich? With Brussels Sprouts in the middle? 🙂 Okay, here goes:
300 Australian policemen flew into Chch today (and were sworn in as NZ police) to boost our police numbers because a full THIRD of our Chch police force has been badly hit with personal tragedies: damaged houses, personal injury, loss of life, personal losses.
Wedding bells pealed for rescued accountant, Emma Howard, who married her fiance, Chris Greenslade, today at the Christ the King Catholic Church in Burnside. Emma didn’t even think she’d live to see her wedding day as she was trapped for a terrifying 6½ hours in the pancaked Pyne Gould building last Tuesday. Here’s her lovely story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/canterbury-earthquake/4704521/Wedding-nuptials-go-ahead
Folks are helping each other all around the city. A massive student army is helping to shovel silt off people’s roads and properties. People are baking goods in Wellington and sending them down here to Chch. A couple commandeered their Dad’s ice-cream truck and drove around the city offering free hot drinks and treats to rescue and construction workers. Christchurch even has a new super loo hero who helps folks dig long drops on their properties. He then tops the hole with a box and affixes a toilet seat to it. It’s so lovely to see people enjoying the use of their personal outdoor loo, complete with privacy. Check it out here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/multimedia/tv/national/46974.html
All of this is Good News in light of the wider-ranging…
BAD NEWS (Here’s the Brussels Sprouts filling. You can tell I can’t stand B.S.!!!)
Death toll is now 113 and rising. The youngest victims were a nine-month old and five-month old babies. Heartbreaking. 😦
Several Japanese students from Toyama Foreign Language School arrived last week for a four week stint at King’s English School. One week into their stay, the English School collapsed in the quake. Several students perished, although, fortunately, a number were able to escape along with their accompanying teachers.
13 Filipino nurses were studying in the same language school, hoping to improve their English before starting work here. Not one of them survived.
Some of the deceased had only just started working in their companies for a week or a few days!
It is believed that most of the dead in Christchurch Cathedral are foreign tourists.
The city looks like a war zone with buildings pulverized, and most of the iconic landmarks gone.
So before I depress you (and me) further, let’s cap this sandwich with…
MORE GOOD NEWS
There have been so many stories of miracle escapes from people trapped in cars that were so totaled you could not imagine anyone surviving; people sinking chest-deep into unseen mud holes and managing to get free; people trapped in buildings for several days and managing to survive; people who left their offices for lunch and got back late, thereby missing being trapped inside; builders leaving a building site for lunch five minutes before the quake demolished the building!
Aid keeps flowing in from all over the world. Japan, which lost several foreign nationals in the quake, not only sent their Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team to help but also donated half a million US dollars to the NZ Red Cross earthquake appeal. Honto ni, domo arigato gozaimashita!
For the first time in NZ, Army engineers have set up a desalination plant in Christchurch. It can produce 2000 litres of fresh water per hour for those in need. The portable equipment, which turns salt water (from the Pacific Ocean) into fresh water, is based in New Brighton beach, and members of the public started receiving water from it this morning. It is such a blessing because the residents on the Eastern side of town still have no water, power, or sewage facilities! Many have been using Portaloos since the Sept. 4 quake last year!
As an ordinary citizen, I would like to thank all of the Urban Search and Rescue teams that have flown in from all over the world to help our people. These teams are from the United States, U.K., Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia. Thank you, too, to all those who are giving blood, financial, medical, and other aid. And lastly, thank you for all the kind thoughts and the faithful prayers sent up for us here in Christchurch. Your prayers are sustaining us and, who knows? Perhaps it is because of your prayers that we are seeing so many miracles!!! So, please keep on keeping on. We certainly will! 🙂