|Christchurch's icon cathedral damaged (twenty people are believed dead in the rubble). Update 5th March no bodies found in cathederal.|
Here at Auckland University we were in the middle of an orientation tour, new students being shown round the university. I had been joking with some students from Christchurch that they must be pleased to be in a place where the ground wasn't shaking. half an hour later such humour just seemed to be so inappropriate.
It has been amazing watching the response to this disaster, seeing the mayor of Christchurch,Bob Parker, at the helm coordinating things. Working almost round the clock, reportedly suffering from broken ribs. Our Prime Minister John Key has also shown good leadership and timely action, he has been willing to make some of the hard announcements about casualties etc. Emergency services risking life and limb to enter buildings to search for survivors. The way the whole community and country has come together to help now and look at providing aid, care and resources to look at recovery in the long haul. Offers of help coming from all over the world and seeing Urban rescue teams arrive from across the Tasman in Australia, the US, Japan, UK and elsewhere.
It was heartening to see the response from Students, Canterbury and Lincoln Universities are in Christchurch and studies are disrupted for the second semester in a row, however there are over a thousand students who have formed the Student volunteer army to help out and do what they can. Here in Auckland the Students association have launched an appeal and are raining thousands of dollars simply asking Students to give them their loose change.
My thoughts and my prayers go our to the people of Christchurch. people who have lost loved ones and who have lost everything, people tasked with the gruesome roll of recovering bodies, those dealing with emergency aid and those tasked with the daunting and what must seem impossible task of rebuilding. Please pray for them and if you can act. there are various relief funds available. Online donations can be made to the Salvation Army http://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/ or Red Cross etc.