Wednesday, February 23, 2011
My City of Ruins - Christchurch earthquake 22.02.2011
Christchurch is not my home town, but I lived there for 5 years as a child, and started school there at Halswell Primary, which was quite badly damaged in the original quake. I've also lived just outside the city boundaries for 6 of the past 8 years, firstly in Lyttelton (close to the epicentre of this shock, and Christchurch's port) and later in Rangiora, about 25km north-west.
What was most distressing for me about yesterday's quake was the text I received from my daughter Sophie telling me that a big quake had struck and that she was stuck in her building. As she works on the 15th floor of a highrise in the centre of the city, I spent a tense few hours waiting to hear about her safety. Communication via text was patchy. Fortunately, she and workmates were rescued from the 10th floor by the fire brigade, as stairwells below this level had collapsed. They were drenched by fire hoses but unhurt.
Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky. The death toll this morning stands at 38 identified bodies, but it could be as high as 300. People are still trapped in collapsed buildings.
Julie Rose, who took over the Pike River Quilt Project after I left the district, has suggested that surplus quilts be distributed to earthquake victims who have lost their homes and belongings. I have agreed with her plan. I hope those who have contributed blocks or quilts will be happy with this. I feel it is appropriate.