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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Help Needed!


Please help these guys keep flying. They are flying in food to Christchurch residents who have none. For some, it is the only hot food they have had.

But they are running short on money to pay for fuel for the choppers. Help keep them in the air by donating to the effort.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surreal is an overused word these days.

If someone uses the word "surreal" again, chances are that I will nod affirmation, and quietly and intently survey my boots.  Not because I've discovered second hand Wrigley's clinging to the toecap or that I haven't cleaned them in an awfully long time (read: never) but because I don't want to snap and say "Of course it's bloody surreal. Do you think you're the first person to say that?"

It's 5am. I've had a few hours sleep and everything seems a wee bit dreamlike. Everytime I look at the telly, disbelief rises. Surely this is footage cobbled together from 9\11 and Haiti - not Christchurch. Stuff.co.nz reports 113 dead - it is just a number. Until I see a picture of one of them; a woman I used to work with who was in the CTV  building.

Reality and sur-reality seamlessly fade in and out and you are never quite sure where you are one minute to the next. Text messages that were sent days ago arrive at times. These are replies to messages frantically sent in the minutes and hours immediately after the event and time and technology mean that they are only getting through now. You feel a bit guilty when someone replies and you realise that you had forgotten that you'd text them at all.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to help out. Twice I've been called in and both times gives you an opportunity to ground yourself (a silly expression given the circumstances) in work - good, hard, physical work. Sometimes you look up and around but it's best to keep going and focus on the job at hand because the word "surreal" just doesn't begin to cover it. It's at times like these, when you stop and take a moment that it hits home what a strange place we live in.

A week ago, we would have said "Oh gosh but the September 4 quake was awful !" We didn't really know what awful was and now a great many of us feel naive. Our city was tested in that first quake but the fabric remained. Now, that fabric has been well and truly shredded, cut and burned. The security blanket that was Christchurch as we know it has been ripped away and people now walk around with that dazed look that only the self medicated seem to enjoy.

Perhaps I need to rein in my temper a bit. Everyone needs to talk about it and despite "surreal" being an oft used word, perhaps its being used just enough. After all it's all true.

It is very surreal.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just can't believe this!

Some people are either demented, sick or in need of a hiding.


 This, along with robbery whilst people are out of their damaged homes is callous, cruel and inhumane.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

Christchurch: A CIty on Edge

The sun has appeared this morning in Christchurch. After three sodden days, its fantastic to see blue sky. It's chilly however. The gauge outside says 8 degrees and dew tips the grass outside like pearls of twinkling light.

Choppers fly overhead continually and the constant "whop whop" when you wake up instantly remind you that its not an ordinary day.

After coming back from town last night, I dropped into the local to catch up with friends I hadn't seen since before the 22nd and it was a relief to see all of us and our families are ok. We decompress, have a drink and swap stories that all begin with "Christ, did you see........" or " I heard that such-and-such is trapped....... ".

An argument breaks out between the local village idiot and another bloke and a scuffle ensues. The twits are separated and dressed down for their behaviour over a trivial matter. Both gents (both are in their 50's and should know better) however continue to mutter in their respective corners.

And that's what its like over the city. Beneath a veneer of calm and control, anger and frustration seethes like oil on water. People in town struggle to maintain calm and civility while waiting for loved ones to be found or rescued or to go back to work clearing rubble. Sadness is written on every face but it only takes a wrong word or some misunderstanding to turn those features into anger.

And it's understandable. Everyone is on edge. Everyone is waiting for something. Whether it's for a loved one to return, a body to be unearthed, a cup of water at the welfare station or a building to collapse, we are all hanging on by our fingertips.

And sometimes you've just gotta wave your arms.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worse than I thought.

Have just got home from securing a building site and  it's even worse than I thought.

I've seen bodies crushed by rubble awaiting collection not to mention the devastation to buildings. Bricks and mortar, however take a backseat to life lost. And the cost there is horrific.

My city has gone.

In it's place, a scene from a world war two remains. Crater like holes in the road with mass destruction to buildings that are demolished make it look like parts of London in the Blitz. 

My thoughts go out to those who's fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters won't be coming home.

Earthquakes. And why they should stop.

I'm lucky. I have the good fortune not to be able to sleep at this time of the morning. Others don't have that luxury anymore.

I live on the outskirts of Christchurch and, being removed from the centre city, thought it was just another aftershock (albeit a serious one). I heard the rumble (I don't care what they say: I know I can hear them!) and with cavalier indifference kept working at my computer. It started, I waited for it to stop. It didn't. It got worse. I got up. My house went up! Then down..... then started along movements generally associated with the wash cycle of my agitator washing machine. This was a different feel from the September 4 quake last year and we knew this wasn't good.

I managed to get through to a workmate who was near the building site where I was meant to be working. The site that I was meant to be on at the time has gone from two storeys high to 2 feet high - rubble and bricks, dust and splintered wood. So I'm lucky. Others are not.

It's frustrating having skills that could be useful and sitting at home while the city that I have lived and worked in for a great period of my life is hurt.  I'm frustrated and angry that I can't do anything.

But I guess I have that luxury while others don't.

Thats why these earthquakes can stop now.