In 2001, I took up residence in Lincoln, New Zealand, a small agricultural town outside of Christchurch. Residency is overstating it a bit. I studied abroad at Lincoln University for the entire year studying recreation management, my chosen topic for a degree. Although I haven’t had the chance to return recently, the city of Christchurch feels like another home.
This morning at 4:35 a.m. New Zealand time (in reality tomorrow morning) an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shook the city of Christchurch causing power outages and building damage but photos currently are limited.
Just shy of nine years ago, I was awoken around the same early hour of the morning to a phone call sharing the news of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the thought of being thousands of miles away from my friends and family. I wanted to be there with them sharing the grief and the fear. It was difficult for my New Zealand friends to have empathy since it wasn’t their home and nothing like that had ever happened before. There was a detachment that they felt which made it easy to ignore similar to when the earthquake happened in Haiti or when the tsunami hit Thailand.
In a way, I am feeling some of those same feelings. I have friends who still live there and I wish I could be there with them. The detachment of those around me is evident, as many don’t even know the earthquake even happened. CNN took over an hour before it reported anything.
The photos I have seen from MSNBC, National Post (Canada) and The Timaru Herald show extensive damage, but I am not able to make out where they are taken. Luckily, there have only been reports of minor injuries so far. The best source of news right now seems to be the New Zealand Herald for information for residents.
My thoughts are with my friends in Canterbury, as well as the entire county, as they work towards repairing damaged property and mental anxiety caused by one of the largest earthquakes ever to hit this region. Missing you.