Tuesday, February 22, 2011
New And Worse Christchurch Devastation
Today there was another earthquake in Christchurch. Unlike the one on September 4th last year, which was at level 7.1 (followed by thousands of aftershocks), this one was at 6.3, nearer the city centre and much nearer the surface. So the damage is much more severe. Many large buildings in the city have totally collapsed. Again unlike September's earthquake, which was in the middle of the night, this one was plumb in the middle of the working day.
So not only is there huge damage to buildings - including the cathedral, which has largely collapsed - but those buildings and the streets were full of people. The prime minister has already called this New Zealand's worst day. Although it is only a few hours since the quake - and already there have been many massive aftershocks, each one adding to the damage - 65 deaths have been announced. Experience from other earthquakes tells us that this will likely be only a fraction of the total.
It is appalling. Our friends and family around the world will be relieved to know that we are several hours drive from NZ (although the quake was felt here) so we are physically unaffected. We have many friends in and around Christchurch and so far we have heard from only some of them, who have damage to property but personal safety. We are worried about the others, of course.