Stories from the quake

There must be something else going on in the world, haven’t we had enough of the earthquake? an email to a radio station moaned last week.

There are a lot of other things going onin the world but none is as important to the whole of New Zealand than the earthquake and its aftermath.

The MSM is doing exactly what it should be in keeping people in the city and beyond informed and amongst the hard news are some heartwrenching stories.

Social media – Facebook, Twitter and blogs are keeping people in touch and also telling stories.

Many of those, like the three that follow, won’t reach the MSM but they are part of the record of the disaster.

* Yesterday afternoon I visited friends from Christchurch who’ve moved down to Wanaka with both their elderly mothers.

He was in a 12 storey building in the CBD when the quake struck – ceiling tiles fell and furniture moved as the building shuddered and swayed but it’s fairly new and appeared to escape any major damage. As soon as the shaking stopped he and his colleagues tore down the stair well and outside.

She was at home and safe though badly shaken, but they aren’t sure their house will be salvageable.

Their relief at their own safety and that of family and friends is tempered by sorrow at the devastation and tragedy in the city which is their home.

One mother was badly bruised from falling, the other was unharmed. Both had been living independently, neither wants to live by herself now.

* A friend told  me of the son of other friends who was running from the quake when a fissure about a metre wide opened up in front of him. He stopped and grabbed a young Asian woman beside him who was about to fall into it. As he hauled her back the earth closed in front of them again.

* This friend has been helping friends whose son in law died when his car was crushed. They know he’s dead but they also know it could be days or even weeks before his body is returned because search and rescue efforts must concentrate on looking for anyone who might still be alive.

Desperate as they are to get him back, they understand why this is so and say that Victim Support have been amazing in helping them.

3 Responses to Stories from the quake

  1. gravedodger says:

    While I understand the reluctance to provide the “missing List” and its connotations that these people are likely to have died to the media, I cant help thinking how much time and effort would be saved if people who are on that list, live and well and being unaware, will still be “in that focus group” when they could be quickly accounted for.
    I know the potential chaos when a fire is reported with “persons involved” and numbers and location are unavailable when in most cases they have left the scene or were never there.

  2. Cadwallader says:

    It is too soon to move on…

    It is too soon for any political grand-standing hence my grievance about Helen Clark parading through the cordons as though she is a head of state (or head of something) a weirdly despicable act of one who ought to know better.

    It is too soon to plan reconstruction while grief is pervasive…

    It is too soon to measure who are NZ’s friends until the size of this tragedy is appreciated.

  3. homepaddock says:

    GD – I understand why police have to wait for absolute proof of who is who before saying they have died, but like you wonder if a list of missing people might be helpful.

    Cadwallader – you can’t move on in the middle of a crisis. The focus now must be on resuce and immediate recovery but that doesn’t preclude people not involved in that thinking about the next steps on the very long journey ahead.

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