Support For Victims of Earthquake.’
The Prime Minister described the earthquake in Christchurch, 22 Feb 2011, as possibly being New Zealand’s ‘darkest day’. He has declared a ‘state of national emergency’.
We have to thank all the people who are currently working on helping the sick, the dying, the homeless and all those who need support in Christchurch.
Local people, and the outsiders who have arrived from other cities and countries, have been very prompt in arriving to the scene of disaster:
NZ military services which include the army and the navy, as well as all the many firemen, policemen, doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and personnel, the Mayor Bob Parker who is overseeing the rescue operations, and all volunteers who are doing dangerous work in Christchurch right at this moment, deserve our heartfelt thanks. We pray that you will all be kept safe as you work on this mission to save lives, and help the injured and the homeless.
An especial thanks to all the overseas governments who are so warmly and freely giving their support to attend to this very urgent need.
The response to the devastating 6.3 earthquake at Christchurch on the 22nd February has been simply overwhelming. Today, the 24th February, 2011, we heard on the Channel One news, which has been giving us the up-dated news from Christchurch all morning, that huge support has come in from various countries around the world.
There was an immediate response from Australia on the day the earthquake struck: The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that ‘we were all family’, and that if there was anything which we needed here in order to overcome the damage from the earthquake, we ‘had simply to ask’. This response was very quickly followed with the arrival of Australian police and medical personnel. The Taiwanese rescue people have already arrived here, and many more other countries seem ready to follow suit.
Many countries, including our neighbour, Australia, have sent people here to help in the past two days since the earthquake struck. Some of these most generous-spirited countries who have brought their aid to New Zealand are: Taiwan, Indonesia, Chile and America. Generally speaking, this generosity of spirit seems to come from people who themselves have suffered earthquakes and other disasters, which have resulted in loss of life.
It was fortuitous that our own military people happened to be in Christchurch, at Lyttleton Port, when the earthquake struck. They had stopped in Christchurch at Lyttleton, on their way to a manouvre to be held at Timaru. The army and the navy have not left Christchurch, but have been working around the clock since, cooking food in their mess, feeding people and generally being of enormous assistance.
Things are still very dangerous down there in Christchurch, New Zealand. Many buildings which have not quite fallen are at the point of collapse, which makes the rescue mission incredibly dangerous because of the unpredictability of the situation. Mayor Bob Parker still stresses that the safest thing for people to do is to stay home until the state of emergency is over. He stresses that, because of the danger, people who wish to help should not do this independently, but only work as part of the co-ordinated rescue effort. He stresses the importance of community and neighbourliness, the importance of working together. This is really important if we are to survive this extreme state of emergency, and the tremendous losses incurred, he has indicated.
One such building which is on the point of collapse is the Grand Chancellor Hotel. This is is situated in the CBD area of the city. It is the second largest building in Christchurch, being 26 stories high. The public have been warned not to go anywhere near this building, and it has been cordoned off by police, yet the rescue workers are working in such dangerous areas as this for much of the time.
Fatalities to date number 76: This is the figure given by the mortuary at noon today the 24 Feb, but this number, sadly, will increase.
People have died in the CBD, in Christchurch Cathedral, in the television building, known as the CTV building, at buildings in Lichfield Street and High Street, at the YHA Hostel, at the Pyne Gould Corporation, at Riccarton, at Hagley Park, and at the Sumner RSA.
Some people have been killed along the streets as they walked, some while they sat in parked cars, and some as they were driving. A bus was crushed by a falling building in St Asaph Street, and another bus crushed in Colombo Street.
People are still being pulled out of the rubble: 120 rescues were reported in yesterday’s NZ Herald, 23 February 2011, but more people will have been added to this list of survivors today.