Friday, 4 March 2011

The Christchurch Earthquake: Revisited Again

Every day here in New Zealand the Christchurch earthquake is brought home to those of us who are not living in it and who are not directly affected by it.   Today Fiona from Four Paws and Whiskers who is my principal source of the real effect of the quake posted We have lost the city we once knew.

To me the Christchurch quake is very real because I know people who have been affected.  I know people who live there.  I know many people who have friends and relatives there.  It is a very 'near' thing to me.  And it is a major catastrophe.  But those in Christchurch and we in New Zealand will, eventually, get over it.  Christchurch will be rebuilt.  Those who survived will rebuild their lives.  The country will survive.

The last thing on this earth I would want to do or suggest is that this has not been a major disaster.  It has been.  But here's the rub.  Here's the dilemma.  I can feel and relate to the Christchurch disaster.

In camparison the 2010 Haiti earthquake approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital occurred on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.  By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people (equal to 3/4 of New Zealand's population) were affected by the quake.  The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless.  The government of Haiti also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
I knew none of that until I wondered how our earthquake compared with that one and looked it up this evening.   It made me think.  Very hard.


  1. Sobering numbers... I heard they used a bulldozer to scoop up the piles of the dead and put them in mass holes. Speed was of the essence compared to the slow process here and the respect for the lost, injured, dead.

    I am sure a new city will emerge and life will be fine. We are picking up the pieces daily.

    I think we are all still stunned and grieving and many have survivor guilt, as in "I shouldn't feel bad because I am stressed over trivial things when I could be lying under rubble like they are". We will recover. We will feel fear, anger, and many will face financial loss and upheaval from their routines - which might be good for some and cause for suicide for others... as one person has apparently already done after the loss of his pregnant wife.

    We have learned that we are spoiled - expecting access to everything we want when we snap our fingers. Reality bites!

  2. it is a terrible disaster. even out of this there will be good though. people will pull together and do what needs to be done to bring the city back.