After confirming that my family + friends were in fact all accounted for, most people I know came through unscathed. The company that supplies my Dads business is in an unknown state, which means *his* business is an unknown state, but other than that most people I know survived the quake just fine. But I know that's not true for everyone.
I keep hearing about friends of friends who have died, people whose names are familiar, people whose names I recognized. I keep hearing from friends who are still waiting to hear about people they love who are missing, from people who have had their houses destroyed, and about people who have no idea about where to go from here. One of my facebook friends is frantic because she can't find her dog, and it's all so heartbreaking. I literally can't stop watching the nz news, and it's shocking to see the aftermath. To read about peoples experiences, and to see their grief, their shock, their pain.
Two days later we're still focusing on finding the missing, on keeping people safe, and providing basic requirements like clean drinking water, power and shelter to the displaced survivors. The people without homes. Everything is still in rescue/recovery mode. The full scale of the devastation is as yet, unknown. All we know really is that it's bad. It's horribly, horribly bad.
The inner city is rubble. The outlying suburbs are flooded, and the soil has been liquefied.
Long term? It's difficult to see where Christchurch is headed at this point. The devastation has been brutal.
For my friends overseas:
If you want to help, if you can help, please do. In the very sensible words of Doug Dillaman:
- Donate to the NZ Red Cross. It's been hammered over the past few days, so don't give up if it's not responding. There's a drop-down menu for "Campaign", which defaults to 2011 Earthquake Appeal. Yes. (If you're in country, you probably already know this, but you can text QUAKE to 555, and donate $5 to the Red Cross instantly. If you're in the UK, Vodafone customers can text NZQUAKE to 70801 to donate £5. More info here)
- Donate to SPCA Canterbury. For many, pets will be the last thing anyone thinks about at a time like this. For others, they'll understand that when people have lost their homes, their businesses, their friends, and their loved ones, that the survival of a pet will be a small but very, very important consolation.
- Prepare yourself. If you can take something from this, it's to be prepared for if (hopefully not when) a catastrophe hits your community. Have backup fresh water, food supplies, candles, a first aid kit, and so on.
- Plan a trip to New Zealand. In the long run, the economic impact is going to be a huge blow to absorb. New Zealand is not a large country, and Christchurch represents something like 10 percent of its population. The South Island in particular will be hard hit. It's a gloriously beautiful place, and foreigners coming to spend money there is a great way to pump money into the economy and feel good about it at the same time. And you can have a wonderful time without going within 100 miles of the earthquake zone; get in touch and I'll be happy to provide suggestions.
Christchurch, you have all of New Zealand behind you, and behind them many people from the rest of the world. You can pull through this, you have our love and support and we are here for you.
Kia kaha Christchurch x