Devastation in New Zealand
I recently posted on our site update that I don’t like to post personal messages. Tonight is an exception to that. At midday today Christchurch – a large city in the South Island of New Zealand – was hit by a devastating earthquake. This follows in the wake of the earthquake of September 4, last year. When the last quake hit it was early morning and there were no casualties. Today, the earthquake hit at the worst time possible – lunchtime on a week day. And while this quake was a lower magnitude (6.3 on the Richter scale), it was far closer to the city center, and shallower. Geologists believe it is 20 times worse than the last one.
It is now 10 at night, and there are collapsed buildings across the city full of people who are believed to be alive. If emergency services can’t get to them, they will be dead by morning. Please, if you are religious person, pray for those people. They are pinned in the cold and dark and may not survive this night.
Thank you to the governments of Australia, the United States of America, Japan and the United Kingdom for putting your search and rescue teams at our disposal. The sooner they arrive here, the better the chances for our people. The aftershocks are continuing at a large size, on an average of one per hour. Buildings are continuing to collapse. The weather has made a turn for the worse and the rescue attempts are occurring in the rain.
From a personal perspective, I have a family member who has not been heard of, despite many attempts to find him. Again, religious people reading this please pray for Aaron that he will have survived the quake. [Update: Aaron has finally texted from Christchurch to say that he is okay. Thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts.]
I would like to thank, especially, our Prime Minister, the Right Honorable John Key, leader of the National Party, who has flown to Christchurch to help in any way he can. Also, thanks to Mayor Bob Parker who many of us remember from television as children; he has shown himself to be an extraordinary mayor in one of the biggest disasters to hit our nation. And most especially, those men and women on the ground, who are working through the night to dig, by hand, amongst the rubble to bring people out to safety.
I am proud to say that around our country people are sending money in to the Red Cross, offering blood donations, and offering beds to those who are grounded in airports.
Thank you to Telecom for making all pay phones free, and thank you to Air New Zealand for providing flights for those who need to get out, or return to find family. Thank you, also, to Google for putting together a friend/family finder so we can search out our loved ones, or register them missing.
If you are in New Zealand and need to report someone missing with the police, please call 0800 779 997. At present the death toll is 65, and a state of emergency has been issued. The unofficial death toll is in the hundreds.
You can follow the up to date news on what is happening on Twitter on #EQNZ.
Everyone in Christchurch – we are thinking of you tonight and will do anything we can to help.
[UPDATE: Thank you so much to everyone who sent in a donation. Listversers contributed $1,291.14 and, as promised, I will add to that the same amount times two bringing us to a total donation from Listverse to the relief fund of $3,873.42. Any donations that have been made but haven't yet reached our account will be included in the final donation to Red Cross. Your generosity has been overwhelming.]
God of Nations at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet;
Hear our voices we entreat;
God defend our free land;
Guard Pacific’s triple star;
From the shafts of strife and war;
Make her praises heard afar
God defend New Zealand.
And finally, the very untraditional anthem we grew up with in the late 70s on TV in NZ, when TV shut down each night:
For all those poor souls who will die tonight because we can’t get to them quickly enough: “Goodnight kiwi.” God be with you. Requiescat in pace.
[UPDATE: I received an email today from Laura, a longtime Listverse reader who lives in Christchurch. Her mother is missing. Please keep her and most especially her mother in your prayers.
UPDATE 2: Laura just emailed me to say that she found her mother this morning in the hospital with a broken arm and leg and minor head injuries. She sends her thanks to everyone who sent her best wishes and prayers.]