Quake anniversary

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, February 22nd, 2012 - 18 comments
Categories: disaster, leadership - Tags: , ,

Today is, of course, the first anniversary of the quake that hammered Christchurch. 185 were killed and more than 11,000 were injured. The thoughts of the whole country are with Christchurch today.

Because the choice of local coverage is overwhelming, and because it is sometimes useful to get an outside perspective on events, here’s coverage from The Guardian:

Darkness at the heart of Christchurch, one year after the quake

There are new shops built from shipping containers, a theatre and a rugby ground soon to open. But at night, the empty city centre is a dark smudge among the suburban lights

Viewed at night from the southern Port Hills, the centre of Christchurch appears as a dark smudge among the suburban lights. Almost a year after the earthquake that killed 185 people in New Zealand’s second largest city, much of the central business district remains in the “red zone”, cordoned-off and uninhabited but for the work crews that pass through the security gates each day in their hundreds. …

So familiar have tremors become in Christchurch that locals are unnervingly good at instantly estimating the magnitude of an earthquake. They have had plenty of practice. Since the 7.1 quake in September 2010 – the first and biggest, which caused no fatalities in part thanks to its arrival in the middle of the night – geologists have measured more than 10,000 earthquakes in the region.

Of those, more than 400 have registered over magnitude 4.0; more than 40 have surpassed 5.0. A cluster of three earthquakes measuring up to 6.0 struck two days before Christmas, causing fresh damage to buildings, including the cathedral, and closing the airport.

Days later, the state geological agency predicted that the area could expect aftershocks to continue for more than two decades, albeit with the likelihood of diminishing severity.

Behind the deadlines of disaster, damage, and rebuilding, there are the people of Christchurch. Echoing the strains described in our own most recent post on the subject (The limits of resilience) The Guardian finds the mood weary, brittle, and frustrated.

But the mood in Christchurch is hardly one of unified optimism. Disaffection with the pace of recovery, especially in the eastern suburbs where thousands of homes are unsafe, is high. …

Leanne Curtis, spokeswoman for CanCern, a network of residents’ groups, says people need to see firm timetables for the restoration of their homes and community facilities. “Without that you become a very depressed city,” she says. “It’s a very bad place for us to be mentally – you can’t build, innovate, be entrepreneurial. You lose motivation, capacity to get up and help ourselves. You can’t remake a city out of depression.”

Communities in the east, and especially those which still await a government decision on whether their land is viable for rebuilding, are boiling over with frustration – with the insurance companies, with the authorities and with a sense of being overlooked, says Curtis. …

“There’s none of this ‘we’re so resilient, we’re so strong’ from anybody on the ground,” says Curtis. “In the east, people don’t feel resilient, they feel tired, frustrated, like nothing’s happening. There is very little vision, very little leadership, very little co-ordination.”

Today we remember the past. But tomorrow we as a country need to to step up the efforts to help the people of Christchurch. They need information, certainty, action and results. The government needs to lift its game, and the insurance industry roadblocks need to be swept away. Christchurch has waited long enough.

18 comments on “Quake anniversary”

  1. A year…

    I’m sending my love and support to all who have suffered and are still suffering in Otautahi/Christchurch. I’ve met some who lost loved ones and I have many friends who are still living there. My thoughts and heart are with you all especially today, a year after the terrible event.

    arohanui

  2. rosy 2

    One year and 10,000 quakes later our thoughts are still with you. Kia kaha.

  3. Kia Kaha to those who survived the earthquake.
    Kia Kaha to those who survived the demoralising aftershocks.
    Kia Kaha to those who have to endure the recovery.
    As a nation and a people we stand with you.

  4. vto 4

    the shortest words to describe ….

    shell shocked

    … a sombre day in Christchurch

  5. muzza 5

    I woke up on the morning of the 22, in the UK to hear about the quakes that had happened overnight, and on top of the Pike Creek disaster which had not even sunk in, I seriously felt ill for NZ.

    All NZ has been touched or affected by these trajedies, and one year on, my concern is that those affected most are being badly let down, by those who are supposed to help!

    The people are the ones who have helped eachother the most, and this just shows that we can get by despite the governments efforts to get in the way.

    Today we remember Christchurch, and those families and friends who perished, however we should also allow ourselves to remember the coming together in support, and help, and love of the entire country.

    We are as one, and we would do well to remember that collectively we have the power

    Kia Kaha!

  6. Jono 6

    Please John, no more earthcake

  7. millsy 7

    One year ago.

    We should also spare a thought for those who are still in limbo because of the quake, and/or living in temporary or transient accommodation because they lost their homes, and are still trying to piece their lives back together. Or those who have lost their jobs and businesses and of course, those who were not insured for various reasons, and have more or less being told hard luck by the authorities, in an amazing display of callousness.

    The future is far from certain for these people.

    • Vicky32 7.1

      We should also spare a thought for those who are still in limbo because of the quake, and/or living in temporary or transient accommodation because they lost their homes, and are still trying to piece their lives back together.

      Can someone tell me about the situation of those who were renting at the time, or who were beneficiaries/minimum wage workers at the time? The media has ignored these people…

      • Populuxe1 7.1.1

        That’s easy, Vicky, we’re fucked if we can’t find a job elsewhere, in a shitty economic climate, that would recoup the cost of relocating. Rentals are shooting sky high and being snapped up by builders and bureaucrats.

        • Vicky32 7.1.1.1

          That’s easy, Vicky, we’re fucked if we can’t find a job elsewhere, in a shitty economic climate, that would recoup the cost of relocating. Rentals are shooting sky high and being snapped up by builders and bureaucrats.

          Thanks for telling me – I thought as much! 🙁 You have my sympathies…

      • Anne 7.1.2

        Can someone tell me about the situation of those who were renting at the time, or who were beneficiaries/minimum wage workers at the time? The media has ignored these people.

        Exactly. I turned the TV news off in disgust this evening. Crocodile tears for the poor, poor people who lost – or are about to lose – their beautiful homes. Most of them will recoup their value, and be able to rebuild or buy somewhere else. But never a word about those who really are poor (frequently through no fault of their own) and have lost their accomodation due to greedy landlords who have upped the rentals beyond what they can afford. I suspect most have been forced out of ChCh and are struggling to pick up the pieces elsewhere without so much as a skerrick of assistance.

    • rosy 7.2

      “We should also spare a thought for those who are still in limbo because of the quake, and/or living in temporary or transient accommodation because they lost their homes, and are still trying to piece their lives back together. Or those who have lost their jobs and businesses and of course”

      Thanks Millsy… this describes my son’s situation perfectly, and yes, his future is far from certain.

  8. I was looking at the Native American myths on the California Online Archive; there is a myth that deals with Earthquake where Eathquake comes to the town of the last human beings. It struck me that this is how those in Christchurch must feel. I refer to it in my latest post.
    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/02/brave-brave-christchurch.html
    Settlements should be expedited so that those affected can get on with things.

  9. Andy-Roo 9

    Lots of powerful emotions being experienced by people all over the country today.

    I did like this take on things from a local CHCH writer:

    http://helenlowe.info/blog/2012/02/22/commemorating-february-22nd-2010/

  10. vto 10

    Phewee, we went through 12:51 with nary a nudge from the Great Earth Monster below..

  11. DS 11

    The on-going support from the people of NZ (and the wider global community) is appreciated by those of us in Christchurch more than we can possibly say.

    Thank you all.

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