Monday, February 21, 2011

So sad for the city I was born in

I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. Went to school, University and Teachers' College there. Married, divorced and married again. My two children were born there.

Cathedral Square, Christchurch NZ 

 I was never particularly fond of the city - didn't like the climate, the atmosphere, or the prospects; I was very happy to move northwards into warmer parts of the country, first to Wellington and then to the Bay of Plenty. But I have many happy memories of people and places there, and there are still many family members there.

On September 4 last year the city suffered the most destructive earthquakequake to hit New Zealand in 80 years when a 7.0-magnitude tremor damaged 100,000 homes, leaving a clean-up bill estimated at NZ$4.0 billion dollars (US$3.0 billion).
The city remained under a state of emergency for weeks with police cordoning off the centre for fear of collapsing buildings, as thousands of aftershocks hit the region. The only good thing was that no deaths or serious injuries occurred.

Today, however, another major quake happened - only 6.3 but very shallow (5kms), and only a few kilometers from the central city. This time it is a major disaster, with people calling the city "irreparable".

Many people are trapped inside what was a five-storey building.

What really brings it home to me, and makes me feel like crying, is seeing that the spire of the Cathedral has fallen. This building was the central point of the city (see top picture) and as a school and university student I walked past it every day, often several times.

I feel shocked, numb, grieving. I cannot begin to imagine what the people of my home town are going through.


  1. I am feeling so numb right now about this!

    My husband has family in Christchurch! He has just been checking on them all!

    I have a teacher's aide in my classroom. She is from Christchurch! She was only with me this afternoon! At that stage we didn't know about the quake! I just hope her family is OK!

    Sending healing thoughts to all in Christchurch tonight!

  2. Thanks for the update. As you can guess from my comment on your previous post, I was thinking of you when I read about the earthquake. I had thought about the sadness of losing that beautiful cathedral spire too. (I've never seen it in person, of course, but the photos make it look lovely.)
    From such a safe distance, it's easy for me to know that I'm -- in a sense -- "helping," since Mormons continually contribute (in money, time, and donations in kind) to a massive emergency supply service. (We often work with Catholic relief services and/or the Red Cross for delivery.) Right now, no doubt, massive supply containers of emergency packages (water, food bars, sanitation supplies, baby emergency kits) are being moved toward Christchurch. I'm glad.
    But I'm a long way away. (Granted, SLC sits right smack on top of an earthquake fault, so it's not like this isn't something we think about.) There's no direct pain here.
    Thanks for bringing it home to me today.

  3. It's weird to have something like this happen so far away from me, and yet immediately be worried about the safety of someone I consider a friend, even if it is just through the blogosphere. I was glad to read that you were safe and sound, but still have my best wishes for the town and people of Christchurch, and everyone you know there.

  4. When you see something like this on the news the first thought is people you know in the area. On that note, I am glad to hear you are ok. My heart goes out to those involved in this disaster. I have never been in that severe an earthquake but live in a city that has the potential for that large a quake. I think often of what I will do when it occurs.
    I hope that the trapped survivors are rescued in good health, and hope that Christchurch finds themselves on the mend really soon.


  5. I saw the news today!. I am so sorry your city is going thru this.. We had a 6.9 earthquake back in 1994... and I know the destruction.. those were pre- retrofitted buildings... and I am guessing New Zealand may be in the same or worse shape than we were in.

  6. Thank goodness you are safe...I too worried when I hear mention of your country, and once I was off work, and the dogs taken out I came on blogger to see if you posted anything....and you did! I know they just have to repair the spire on the Cathedral....what a lovely picture of it you posted (first photo) my prayers go out to you and your family members that are living through this horrible time right now...My prayers and thoughts are with you and all in Christchurch....

  7. I'm so sorry for everyone connected to this tragedy. These things are always so sudden and so damaging.

  8. Thank you so much everyone for your comments and kind thoughts. It is truly comforting to hear that you felt a connection to my country; the blogosphere is a magical place.

    This morning I managed to get through to my sister. She was very shaken (metaphorically as well) and fragile - as we were speaking the house was rolling and trembling! All of her family are safe and alive, which is what matters in the end.

  9. I came to your blog today to see if you were all right. I'm glad you are. I have been to Christchurch and I remember the cathedral. That is indeed a sad sight. Take care.

  10. It's so good to hear that your sister and her family are all fine. Although now they have all the mess and pain that comes after something like this...hopefully they didn't loose anyone close to them either....healing will take time of course...we can only pray that no more earthquakes rock your country...Take care,and I hope your week is filled with JOY! Karen

  11. i too...want to express my sadness for all the devastation...

    i'm happy that you're ok...but sorry to see that beautiful catherdral's spire...gone.
    and all the other tragedies...
    so sad...

    sending healing all those the earthquake...


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