Friday, February 25, 2011

More from my cousin Laurie in Christchuch, New Zealand

Thanks to all of you who are sending good wishes to my cousin and her husband in Christchurch. They've posted more on Facebook, which I'm sharing with you here. Unbelievable stuff. (If you haven't read yesterday's post, you might want to start there.)

Tanks, Tears & Some Criticism of TV

As I sit here the house we have relocated to on the other side of Christchurch, is shaking; this is just how we live now. We had a difficult night last night, the stress and emotional shock of what we have been thru began to kick in and affect us. Today we are connecting with ne...arby friends, as its this being with friends that helps. Driving across Chch has been difficult, 4x4 in some places because of the land upheavel and displacement. The liquefaction of the ground is remarkable to behold.

As you travel about the city (not the CBD where the real devastation is, which is cordoned off) it is a drop jaw experience - such incredible scenes of utter devastation. Hundreds of people are still missing, most likely laying dead under rubble where searchers have not been able to get.

We met an international USAR (Urban Search And Rescue) team yesterday. They were amazing; they came to see if everyone was out of our house.

Turning to our destroyed home, we realise now it may be impossible to retrieve things. Both exits and entrances to the house are shattered, twisted and broken (see the photos). It may be impossible to get things out. It is also very dangerous inside, so we have to assess whether life is worth the risk of recovering precious items. The aftershocks are heavier where we lived, and arrive as deep booms under the ground which moves quite violently. The broken buildings also make a lot of noise in shakes, as things rub up against other things. It sets off like a wave of noise across the city.

Water and petrol supplies are coming in to the city. We are really impressed with the NZ Navy. HMNZ Canterbury is docked in Lyttleton cooking over 1000 meals a night for people there.

There are now 600 rescue searchers (USAR) in Chch from all over the world, incl. China. These people are solely looking for people still alive or retrieving the dead. I still can't get used to the tanks and LAVs in the streets, it is so incongruous with fair Christchurch.

Our political colleague Gerry Brownlee who lives nearby, has been appointed as a special Earthquake Minister and his other portfolios redistributed to other ministers. Gerry is a rock and is the right person to do this. His own home is damaged.

The NZ census has been cancelled for 5 March. This means John's new contract will be void before he starts. He was to be employed as a census Team Leader and had a special meeting scheduled 4 hours after the quake hit. This will hit us hard in the pocket. John has suffered a lot with redundancy and employment disappointments recently.

A silly thing: but we feet annoyed with the younger TV journalists who have stupid smirks on their faces and ask inane questions. One front woman actually asked her field reporter on air, "And how is the TVNZ team doing?" (It's not about Auckland TVNZ staff who flew in!!). Having more mature journalists on camera, like John ? from Dunedin - and Bob Parker is inspirational - is so much better. These young things just do not have the gravitas for this job alongside the wonderful older men and women of the service sectors - like the senior regional coroner, major of Salvation Army, and all the specialist crisis response people. Maybe we're not thinking straight, it's just how we feel. Good on AirNZ for actively recruiting older people.

We feel shattered. But we are so thankful to the point of tears, for all those lovely people (like the Valley Baptist choir and orchestra in California) who met to pray for us and Chch. Thank you so much.

It is very poignant and sad seeing the Catholic Basilica domes down and our Anglican Cathedral spire down, the symbol of our city, and perhaps 22 people still lost -probably deceased - inside.

Laurie left a comment on yesterday's post. Check it out and please continue to keep them in your thoughts.


Taradharma said...

After our 7.1 20 years ago, the constant sound of helicopters was unnerving. It was the only way to get goods and people in and out. To this day, the sound gives me the shivers.

I'm going to the International RedCross page to donate.

gayle said...

Thank you for posting this! They are in my thoughts and prayers.