Christchurch Earthquake New Zealand 22 February 2011

Lives Lost In Christchurch:

For Christchurch people in need of help: The emergency line set up by NZ Police is 0800779997.

Government is considering declaring a National State of Emergency, which will mean all the Nation’s available services will be sent to Christchurch.

Today, at 9 minutes to 1 in the afternoon, 11.51 A.M. if you ignore Daylight Saving Time, Christchurch was literally devastated by the quake of 6.1 magnitude on the Richter Scale.

Christchurch is only just getting on its feet again after the last big earthquake, only 5 months ago, on September 4th 2010. The September 2010 quake was of a higher magnitude – 7.1, but this quake of today was much stronger, and has caused considerably much more damage.

Power has been cut off to the CBD, and 50% of homes are without power. Gas has been cut off. These commodities will take time to be restored, as reconnecting power to damaged buildings will cause fire. Fires already have become a problem with the collapse of buildings.

The very worst thing is the loss of lives. There could be up to 300 people dead.

It has literally wrecked the CBD in Christchurch. All the old historic icons of which Christchurch has been so proud, and have so diligently rebuilt after previous earthquake damage, have all but tumbled down.

The Christchurch Cathedral, sadly, is a goner. People were inside this building attending a service when the earthquake struck. Alas, some people who were attending this service have been killed.

People have also been killed in many other buildings around Christchurch, and even on the roads, where some people were hit by falling rocks, bricks and mortar.

It is feared that many students have died: Students were studying at a language school, housed within the walls of the CTV building. This building was home to Christchurch regional T.V. It has collapsed in the quake, and many people are feared dead.

The earthquake of today has also destroyed much of the historic Lyttleton Port and much of the surrounding areas. Several thousand people from different parts of Christchurch have had to leave their homes.

The quake ‘s epicentre was only 5 kilometres underground, and thought to be only about 10 ks from the Christchurch CBD, near Lyttleton. The closeness of the earthquake to the surface of the earth is thought to be the reason for the resulting devastation from an earthquake which would otherwise have been considered a relatively moderate earthquake.

This is one of the worst disasters which New Zealand people have had to encounter. So far, the estimated loss of life is around 65 people, but this number is surely to rise by morning. People right now are working through the night to try to rescue people out of the rubble.

Mayor Bob Parker says that the emphasis is on rescue at the moment, and that people should not be concerned about much else: Gathering statistics about the number of lives lost, and the estimated damage to Christchurch, are not important at this stage, he says. He has just given an empowering message to the people of Christchurch, and the people of New Zealand, which was shown on television Channel One around 9 p.m., 22 February 2011.

Bob Parker is a born leader, steadfast and strong, and I think that the people of Christchurch will be very glad that they voted him in as Mayor. He has literally taken charge of his city in its desperate time of need.

Mayor Bob Parker is a natural orator, confident, articulate, considerate, and well organized. He has stepped up to the frontline to give television reports, so that the public are informed of the state of affairs, including the help being provided, the places to avoid, and what people can expect.

He has given sensible, practical, and caring advice to people. His words of wisdom must surely be encouraging and inspiring to these people who are in shock, having lost their friends, homes, and workplaces. He is encouraging people to stay at home where this is possible, as many of the welfare centres are fast becoming over-crowded. He tells people that they must look after themselves and their neighbours, “the people in your street”.

It is thought about 2000 people are at Hagley Park, which has been set up to receive the homeless. Other welfare centres have been set up at Burnside School, Papanu School, Akaroa Senior High School, Lyttleton Recreation Centre, and other sites.

Christchurch Hospital has power, but is open only to emergencies. Other, smaller hospitals are taking people too, but do not have power at this stage. Triage centres have been set up at Latimer Square, Spotlight Mall, and at Sanitarium in Papanui Road.

Mayor Bob Parker says, too, that whilst volunteers are welcomed, spontaneous efforts to help the people trapped in buildings should not be attempted: Buildings are still crumbling, and so rescue operations should be led by the specially trained and equipped rescue teams. It could be very dangerous for people entering these buildings.

It is fortunate that the annual Ellerslie Flower Show, formerly an Auckland event, was transferred to Christchurch, the ‘Garden City’ several years ago. Even before the earthquake, preparations for the festival had begun, and huge marquees were already set up to house the flower displays, and all the visitors to the event. These marquee have become an important refuge for people: The site of the Ellerslie Flower Show is now being used as a welfare centre to shelter and feed people.

It is raining right now, which could be a help to put out some fires which have broken out in the CBD, although this will make a hard night of it for those people who cannot make it to a welfare centre.

Bob Parker has suggested that people try to collect rainwater tonight: There is a shortage of water. The city’s pump system is not working, and so people must conserve water. Do not shower, and do not flush your toilet. If necessary, dig a hole – do whatever is necessary to save water, the mayor has stressed.

23 Japanese students are reported as trapped in a building in Peterborough Street, and many other people are still waiting to be rescued. In a later report,it was stated that some of these students have managed to escaped.

The second major Christchurch earthquake will affect people for a long time to come: The National economy is at a very low ebb. Resources are stretched because of the need to rebuild Canterbury after the last earthquake, drought has affected dairy and agriculture production, resulting in high food prices, and the looming Rugby World Cup is soaking up much of any available funds.

New Zealand is a small and tightly knit community. We all know people in Christchurch. The crashing down Christchurch, one of five major New Zealand cities, will impact on the whole of the nation.


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