New Zealand Earthquake Report from Kiwi Cousin Diana

This just in from cousin Diana Davie in Auckland, Jessica’s father’s hometown: “The country is in a state of grief and disbelief. I don’t think anyone who has lived here for any length of time hasn’t been touched in some tangible way by the earthquake in Christchurch. Even new-comers will have noticed all the flags at half-mast and how the checkout operators in the local supermarkets ask if we would like to make a donation to the earthquake relief fund, which of course we all do. I saw an interview with Helen Clark (an ex-Prime Minister now Director of Development at the UN who’s just come back from NY to “show solidarity and support”) in which she said that what she’s seeing here is every bit as bad as she saw early last year in Haiti. It’s going to have a huge impact on our economy because the rebuild will be massive to fund (even with insurance and the Earthquake Commission). What’s scary is that this earthquake was only an aftershock from the September quake – and the poor people in Christchurch continue to have aftershocks with a 4.3 one yesterday and another 3.4 this morning. These shallow-centred aftershocks can be every bit as deadly as the original, deeper, grade 6 earthquake, particularly now that most of the buildings in the city have been compromised by rolling aftershocks since September, and the aftershocks are predicted to continue for at least another six months and possibly up to a year! People are leaving the city in droves because the buildings are unsafe. Who’d have believed this? Well, the Civil Defence people did – they’ve been running ads for years about the need to store water, food, torches and batteries, camping gear, survival blankets, heavy duty plastic rubbish bags (in many places the water and sewer lines are out) and transistor radios – all things which have become vital supplies in the beleaguered city. Furthermore, seismologists say that this wasn’t ‘the big one’ and that there is still a ‘big one’ to come somewhere, sometime, and it’s not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’. We love Christchurch and though we personally are safe (Auckland is volcano not earthquake country) we are absolutely gutted that this should happen to this beautiful city and its people. The Rescue and Recovery teams are wonderful – immensely brave (searching for survivors in collapsed buildings despite intermittent aftershocks). Crews and recovery specialists have come from all over – Australia, Korea, Japan, UK and the US. I cannot begin to explain how heart warming it is to see in news clips, US rescue and recovery logos on the jackets of men working so diligently and courageously in the rubble of a wrecked building. Without wanting to sound melodramatic – thank you, America. And thank you for your concern, dear Jessica.  With love, Diana” To support relief efforts go to: christchurchquakeappeal.govt.nz redcross.org.nz salvationarmy.org.nz

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