Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | February 27, 2011

writing about the ChCh quake

Why haven’t I written about the Christchurch quake – now five days old? I don’t know what to say.

I typed a lot of information into a blog on the Tuesday afternoon then in a blurry-eyed haze, deleted it all. I was repeating information from radio and TV to get hits on my blog. I had nothing new to add, nothing new to say. It is horrific and it brings a lump to my throat thinking about it.

The death toll has risen from 10 to 25 to 68 to 75 to 110 to 145 with 200 still missing. Incomprehensible. Unbelievable. So, so, so, so sad.

I did have moments of imaginable terror as I thought of my sister and her family in Christchurch. I did fear the worst when I couldn’t reach them. But gradually over the space of the first afternoon, along with thousands of other New Zealanders, the news came that friends and family were safe (and friends of family and family of friends). Others weren’t so lucky.

Around me I know of people who know people who are missing. Firefighters who are putting their names on the list for a 24-hour’s-notice callup to head south. Civil Defence and Red Cross people heading south to help their counterparts cope with what must be the most harrowing experience of their lives.

The media’s intrusion into this has been annoying me. Yes they are doing a great service at the same time and like thousands of others, I am glued to every update on the internet, TV or radio. But they just keep going with the prodding of some people.  Going to the wedding of a woman from the CTV building. She was happy and smiling in the interview afterwards until the reporter asked her if it was especially poignant not having one of her colleagues there with them. Bang, there go the tears again. Could they have not just mentioned it in the story and not reminded her of it? I’m sure it wasn’t far from her mind anyway.

Some journalists pretending to be medical staff so they could get into patients. Some journalists asking completely naff questions of the Prime Minister or Bill English at the Civil Defence bunker in Wellington. I can’t remember exactly what they were – but you could almost hear the interviewee thinking “you’re joking. You dick, that’s your question?”

Questions need to be answered about why the CTV and PGC buildings collapsed the way they did. But within the first week of one of New Zealand’s worst natural disasters is not the time. Wait until all families have loved ones safe and sound (in all manner of speaking) before recriminations please.

The woman who sat talking to a dying “Joe” on the rubble-strewn Cashel St is probably wishing she’d kept it all on the down low.

And yet, I remain glued to every “Breaking News” flashing on the screens (I think it has been there permanently since Tuesday).  I loved Mrs Malcolm and her four daughters. She is such an awesome, positive lady. Although I am no Robyn (actually I’m more like Jo – the reporter sister 🙂 ) I can imagine my mum would be a bit like her in the face of adversity. Mum would probably have a vegetable garden growing in the window box of her hospital room and floral art arrangements in each welfare centre. The world needs more Mrs Malcolms (and more mum like mine).  (Mum’s in Dunedin, but she got a call on Tuesday afternoon just in case. Love you. xx) 

I have enjoyed this morning’s coverage by Simon Dallow as I ate my breakfast and did last night’s dishes (mowing the lawns is such a menial task when there is such a drama unfolding in our back yard). SPCA and vets about pets and wandering dogs, Red Cross about the unity of all the organisations working in the welfare centres (Salvation Army, Victim Support…), the engineers and Urban Search and Rescue  (these people are awesome).

Opera at Oruawharo is on this afternoon (an amateur performance by locals (we’re just lucky a local married a German opera singer 🙂 ) at a beautiful, historic homestead near Takapau).  Hopefully organisers will be handing around a bucket for the earthquake victims. I have been meaning to, and will, donate to both the Red Cross appeal and Bob Parker’s Mayoral Fund (now there’s a man who needs a break).

Our lives go on while those in Canterbury have had the pause button hit for them.


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