It has been well over a month since the Christchurch Earthquake and we are all still shocked at the loss of life and damage that occurred. All our thoughts go out to those people who have suffered a loss of a family member, friend, or someone they knew. Living in the Waikato, initially I felt isolated and removed from the tragedy, even though the devastation caused shown through the media shows the extent of the damage. What really brought it home though has being talking to people who were in the quake. Many of those I have spoken to believed their lives were about to end, they were completely terrified. Talking to them, hearing their terror and seeing it in their eyes is what really brought the tragedy home to me.
It has been heartening to see has been the response from throughout NZ. I have been really impressed at the sense of ‘nationalism’ that has arisen and it has come in many forms. For a start, the organisation of the rescue and recovery effort seemed to be very well organised – right from the way we accepted international help to the way it was co-ordinated. It seems that every possible measure was taken to save lives, no blundering, no delays, no wasted time – just total focus.
It was also impressive to see the way Civil Defence and red Cross come to the fore and how well organised they were. They sit there so quietly in times of calm but when it really counts we all realise what efficient and well run units they are. Their co ordination seemed to be spread right through out the country – calling on any and all resources available from all regions and channelling it all in the right direction.
Lastly for us – the punters who have felt so helpless it has been great to help through various channels such as charity auctions, donations and many other opportunities. The Initiative which really highlighted our sense of nationalism to me was the government ‘home help’ – people providing accommodation for those in need from Christchurch. Thousands of people have applied through their regional councils to open the doors to their houses and let strangers in to stay till they can return. We were one of the many to offer, and the doors are still open.
Most of these are small efforts we can make and pale in comparison to the size and scale of devastation of what has occurred.
However, I know all new Zealanders would admit to feeling the pain and we will do all as we can as New Zealanders to help Christchurch recover and rebuild from this national tragedy.