help is on its way…


23/02/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

As most of the world would have heard by now, Christchurch (South Island, New Zealand…1000km south of where we live) suffered a devastating earthquake yesterday, leaving the inner city looking like a warzone and resulting in much loss of life.

It has been so frustrating and heart-wrenching to watch the events unfold on TV. I feel so near, and yet so very far away.

What has been wonderful, though, is the way that people have turned out in droves to help…helping their neighbours, providing shelter to strangers, providing food and warmth. I was listening to the radio this morning, where one young chap – living alone in Christchurch – rang the radio station in tears as he was so frightened. A local girl rang up to say that she was immediately on her way to comfort him.

Other countries have offered aid. Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) teams are coming from Australia and America and help is pouring in from as far away as Israel (no surprise there – Israel is usually one of the first on the scene in international disasters).

There was a message, posted on a Facebook page this morning, which I think summed up the national response well. It read “Hang on Christchurch, the rest of New Zealand is on its way.”



2 thoughts on “help is on its way…

  1. Sarah Ritchie says:

    1.5 days after the quake, this list was reported in The Dominion Post (Wellington’s major newspaper):

    Six countries have sent teams to help in the rescue operation:

    Two specialist search and rescue teams of about 100 people in total.
    A 22-strong medical team.
    300 police on the way, with the last due by Friday.

    A specialist urban search and rescue team of 75 personnel, due to arrive this morning.

    A contingent of 60 search and rescue personnel, arriving today. Japan is recognised as a world leader in earthquake-disaster recovery.

    116 personnel, including a 55-member search and rescue squad which arrived last night, military staff who were already in New Zealand and two military planes with extra equipment today.

    A 63-member search and rescue team is due to arrive tonight.

    A group of 24 search and rescue specialists.

  2. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Today marks one week since the quake. This was in today’s paper:

    Foreign Minister Murray McCully said hundreds of rescue workers and millions of dollars in overseas aid had poured into Christchurch in the wake of last week’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

    More than 900 international personnel from 12 countries are now working with New Zealand search and rescue teams in Christchurch, Mr McCully said.

    Australia had been the biggest contributor to the rescue effort, he said.

    It had sent 142 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) workers from New South Wales and Queensland, 323 police officers, a 23 person medical team, three dogs to sniff out survivors and a 75-bed field hospital.

    The United States sent 80 USAR workers and 40 tonnes of equipment and the United Kingdom sent 64 USAR personnel.

    That generosity was matched by Japan, China, Singapore and Taiwan, which each sent USAR teams and search and rescue dogs.

    Japan also sent a team of four counsellors, four fingerprint experts and an interpreter, while Singapore has 116 Defence Force personnel manning the security in Christchurch.

    The recovery operation in the quake-hit city will also been bolstered by 1000 sheets of reinforced plastic, 1000 blankets and about 50 power generators expected to arrive from Korea on March 3.

    Japan will donate 1000 plastic sheets and 2000 six litre water tanks. Australia is sending sanitation resources including camp toilets.

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