22 February 2011

Destruction in Christchurch

I wouldn't normally do this, but I want to say I'm sorry for my latest post this morning.  I was traveling the last 5-days, and have only just found out about the unbelievably devastating earthquake that hit Christchurch over the weekend.  I wrote that post a few weeks ago and had very poor timing in publishing it.

To provide some background, a large 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the city on September 4, 2010.  This quake was very bad, and caused widespread destruction, but when I was in Christchurch in December they were repairing what was broken, and residents were thankful to be moving forward with their lives.  Then on Christmas day, Christchurch was rocked by a strong aftershock, I believe a 5.0, and many buildings had to be evacuated, including the Base Hostel where I had stayed (I left Christchurch on Christmas morning and did not feel this aftershock). 

The effects of yesterday's quake, a 6.3 magnitude, were much worse yesterday than in September.  The epicenter was closer to the earth's surface, and thus caused more widespread damage. 

Base Hostel and the St. Matthew's Church, where I attended Christmas Eve Mass, have been almost destroyed.  Here are before and after pictures of the church:
The pictures of the devastation are unfathomable.  Here is a another church which was under construction while I was there.  See my before picture:
 And the same church today.
 
At this time, at least 65 people have been reported dead, with more than 100 people still missing and feared to be trapped in rubble. 

I can't imagine what I would do if something like this happened in Seattle.  It really makes me thankful for every day.  My heart goes out to you people of Christchurch.  I'm sending you good vibes as you try and recover.  If I learned anything about Kiwi's on my trip, it is that they are a hearty, warm, and resilient people.  My heart is heavy for them today.

Read more about the quake here.  "After" pictures credit goes to NZ Herald.

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