San Francisco Mayor on Christchurch Earthquake
Ex-Mayor Art Agnos
We had encouraging words in New Zealand this morning, all the way from San Francisco. This was at ten past eight, NZ time, on TVNZ Channel One.
Art Agnos, who was the mayor when the big San Francisco earthquake struck in 1989, had encouraging words to tell us.
He told the people of Christchurch that they were wonderful for their rallied effort to keep on going, and praised the international support teams who have come here to help.
The International Red Cross, and the Salvation Army are two organizations which were acknowledged, and I would add to that all local people, the Churches who are supporting people, the student volunteer army, the NZ Army, the NZ Navy, the Fire Service, the Police, Ambulance drivers, all the Medics, and the Internationals who are here who are helping in any way. And all those people who are expressing acts of kindness and support to others in need.
I think that the Medics have been a little under-praised to date: In my own posts, of course, I have mentioned them, but their work has generally been done behind closed doors, and so we cannot glimpse the incredible hard work they have done, and are still doing, behind the scenes. It is the people in visible action doing the search and rescue, the Police, the Army, the Internationals here doing their heroic stuff whom we have focussed on – and so we should, but the Medics have been busy saving people’s lives too.
When the Australian Medical Team arrived here a few days ago, to set up their field tent for treating people, no-one was at the air-port to meet them, whereas hundreds turned up to meet the Aussie Police when they arrived.
Anyway – it has all turned out well – over the weekend, as told by TV1 around 8.30 AM, all the locals got together to do a big bake-off for the Australian Medical team. These wonderful people created a feast for the Aussie Medics which made them feel very welcome: I think a big party was had by all.
Three cheers for the Aussie Medics, and all the other Medics down there in Christchurch who are performing miracles.
Back to the ex-Mayor of San Francisco – I was thrilled to hear him praising our own Mayor in Christchurch – Mayor Bob Parker is not my Mayor, actually, as I live at Orewa Beach, in the North Island, but Mayor Bob endears us to Christchurch and its plight so well, that one feels one is part of the whole thing. Mayor Bob Parker certainly is doing a wonderful job in creating unity, and restoring confidence in the people of Christchurch and New Zealand generally.
Mayor Art Agnos said that Bob Parker had ‘captured all of us with his leadership and his words of comfort’.
Art Agnos said that they have learned much from the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, that San Francisco is, today, stronger, and more beautiful than it was before. It has been rebuilt to withstand more earthquake pressure.
He says that San Francisco has trained up about 22,000 volunteers around the city who have prepared for the next earthquake, should one strike. He said that, of course, the nature of a disaster is its sudden strike, and that you cannot possibly account for everything which may happen during an earthquake, but that they have prepared themselves as best they can.
Art Agnos said that the people of Christchurch showed remarkable spirit, and that this matched the efforts of the people in his own city. People rallied together in 1989 when the earthquake struck, and continued to support each other through the crisis.