It has been a very difficult week here in New Zealand. We have seen the countries worst natural disaster hit Christchurch and it has shocked everyone. This is extra cruel as the city was just starting to recover from the earthquake in September. We knew there could be large aftershocks from that original quake and the people of Christchurch have been living with these for months but this quake was a new one. These events are predicted to occur once every 600 years but to have two within 6 months is very unusual.
The first quake happened in the middle of night and caused relatively little damage but last week the quake hit at lunch time and centered just 10 k from Christchurch CBD. The devastation is massive and the death toll us likely to exceed 200. Christchurch is a beautiful city. I have visited many times and have friends there who I am pleased to say are all safe. It is hard even to look at the images of places you know well just completely destroyed but this being New Zealand people will soon start focusing on rebuilding. The CBD is going to be closed for months and the cost of the quake will likely be more than 10 billion dollars but NZ is one of the best prepared countries for this type of event. The earthquake commission has billions of dollars set aside and the response from the rest if the world has been amazing. Once the rebuild starts it will provide work for the construction industry which has been hard hit in recent years and we may even need more construction people from overseas.
Inevitably an event like this will see people leave Christchurch never to return so the city will need to build more than buildings and infrastructure. There are no figures on this at the moment and the people of Christchurch are very proud of their city so let’s see what happens.
The quake will effect the NZ economy as well Christchurch contributes 10% of the countries GDP, so measures will need to be put in place and this will take years to recover from.
Everyone is getting behind the city and we will soon hear some good news stories as people start to focus on making the city even better than it was before. For now all of us outside Christchurch are giving all the support we can. Earthquakes are something we live with in NZ and in the eight years I have lived here I have only felt one. Thankfully an event like the Christchurch quake is rare.
the following video just about says it all…