Friday, February 25, 2011
The Christchurch earthquake has really been the subject of everyone's thoughts and prayers since Tuesday. It's surreal to be reading about the devastation, death toll rising and eye witness accounts that are almost exclusively the featuring stories while I'm sitting so comfortably in an air-conditioned building with plenty of water to drink straight from the taps, food to eat, a home to live in and no missing family or friends. I may as well be reading about earthquakes in Chile. But then I have people phoning in who are looking for the telephone number of Civil Defence so they can declare themselves safe - refugees from Christchurch who have made their way here to seek shelter and stable ground. I've taken calls from people offering their homes for accommodation; I've had people phoning in wanting to know where the distribution points are for drop-off of food and clothing. And it becomes real. There are real people wandering the streets of Timaru who look like tourists on holiday, but who really are the shell-shocked with demolished homes or who are simply needing to get away from the City. There are people at the Caroline Bay Hall with tragic stories of loss - real loss, not just a bit of smashed china. Some of them have absolutely no idea what the future holds and how they will survive. It's real. And I'm at work fielding calls from angry subscribers who had a newspaper or eleven delivered while they were away on holiday. Like seriously, you're distressed about that??