It is 12.50pm, 23rd February, 2011. Exactly 24 hours ago we were hit by a 6.3 magnitude quake, at a depth of 5km. The death toll currently stands at 75 confirmed, with 300 reported missing.
Christchurch is in a state of unbelief. For those of you who are unaware of the situation, on September 4th 2010, Christchurch was struck by a 7.1, causing destruction, but miraculously nobody was killed. Since then we have had thousands of aftershocks, most minor, but some causing extra devastation.
Yesterday, the 6.3 came without warning, during one of the busiest times of the day, though smaller in size, it was much closer to the city and far shallower. Following aftershocks shuck the city for the rest of the day, shattering hearts, as the reality of the situation began to sink in for us locals. With no power, we had no idea what was happening, turning to National Radio, reports began to filter in of widespread destruction within the CBD itself.
I can only say, that this has been the worst 24hours of my life, and though personally I have come out of the day relatively unharmed, there is a huge sense of loss, grief and uselessness that hangs over the rest of the city, as we can only watch in disbelief, waiting to hear stories of success, and dreading the stories of fatalities.
After the initial quakes yesterday, a friend and I embarked on a journey into the city centre, to attempt to assess the situation, and provide help. Though we made is quite far, the devastation became clear, buildings completely collapsed, liquefaction everywhere,sirens, smoke, dust, ambulances, police… we were eventually turned away. And I am glad for it, as images came in through the radio and phone calls, I don’t think I could have braved the centre itself. The devastation we had seen was enough to break my heart, but knowing that there were trapped, dying and dead people within the ruble… it really seems surreal.
If you are religious, then I ask you to turn to your gods… we need all the prayer we can get right now, regardless of religious difference. My prayers go out to the families of the dead and the missing, we’re such a small, close-knit city, that we will all feel this massive loss.
I will update as and when… but for now, it’s just sitting around and waiting. I feel so useless.