March 1, 2011

Christchurch – The Others

I don’t really know where to start with this post. The last week has been a hard challenging time for us all here in New Zealand, the pain, anxiety and fear has rippled through everyone, and the sympathy, tears and love has flowed. On February 22nd at 12.51pm a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Christchurch, its shallow force destroyed not only buildings, but people lost their lives, families lost their loved ones and Christchurch lost its city probably forever.

I have found it hard to describe to people how I feel about all this. The day it happened I cried on the phone with my friend as we watched the horrific images unfold on the TV. Reminiscent of the time I watched the September 11th attacks I stayed glued to the TV for two whole days, tears streaming down my face as I watched the poor people struggle with all that had just happened. I have never felt such emotion over such a disaster, a natural disaster as it’s described – but there was nothing natural in my nature to be able to deal with this.

It’s a strange feeling, being from the UK our homes are very different here, our climate, and our culture. Bad things happen all the time in the UK but I cannot say that anything has ever affected me more than this, nothing has consumed my time more, nothing has made me stop and enjoy a moment, nothing has ever made me realise that sometimes, something’s are just not important anymore.

The amazing support from the NZ Government to help everyone is Christchurch is truly heart wrenching, the pure dedication is mind blowing. The NZ Army, Police, Fire and rescue teams were deployed and have been working nonstop for the last week. Specialist teams have been flown in from around the world too and we are so proud of all our guys here and the work they have done. The praise they have had is well deserved, we appreciate every second of their being for everything they have done, they are all amazing, amazing people.

Yet I do not want to distract from the fact there are so many other people who are working to help too. Michael flew off to Christchurch the day after the quake. He was enlisted as leader of his team to go and help restore connections to the vital Government systems. With a heavy heart I had to let him go, pride and fear mixed as we waved him goodbye. The days without him were long and full of worry.

His time in Christchurch will stay with him forever. The sights he saw, the people he met and places he went are something he will always be part of. Standing in a room full of people who no longer had a home had a profound effect, stepping around people as they laid on the floors, seeing children cry and scream, seeing what could only be described as chaos will be an image that will stay with him forever. He may have been there only to do his job, but he was there, he was there alongside the other amazing emergency services, he was there to help people, and that is why I wanted to write this post.

I could write for hours about how we have all been affected by this, it’s something that you will never know until you go through it, the people of Christchurch are a stunning bunch of people, and whilst the news that trickles in now is only sad, it doesn’t discount from the fact they will make it through. I just wanted to say a thank you, to my husband, for being a truly inspirational man, for knowing what he needed to do and that he gave it his all. I wanted to say thank you to him for helping Christchurch, he is one of those ‘others’ who may go unsung in the media and in the minds of people, but for me I will always know what he did, and I couldn’t be any more proud.

Kia kaha Christchurch, we are all in this together. 

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