Monday in Christchurch, New Zealand
Tuesday in Christchurch, New Zealand
Five months and 18 days ago, the big one hit Christchurch.
Something slightly less than the big one hit Christchurch yesterday. This one was worse than the September 4, 2010 earthquake. No one died in the September quake. People died in this one.
“We may be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day,” said the country’s prime minister, John Key.
It’s 10:30, Tuesday night in Christchurch. Rain is falling. People don’t want to stay in their houses. The aftershocks won’t stop. It’s cold outside, 55 degrees.
It is distressingly surrealistic to be halfway around the world listening to live radio — Newstalk ZB radio, from Christchurch (thanks to the WunderRadio app) — as the survivors talk about their day, their worries, their fears.
One caller mentioned civil defense officials recommended people stay home for at least three days. “That’s a bit scary,” he said. “Not sure what we’ll do.”
“Do you have enough food and water?” the announcer asked. The caller sheepishly confessed to thinking about doing that after the September earthquake, but never quite getting around to it.
“I suppose I should have taken care of that,” he said.
“I’m just worried about my children,” says another caller, a woman named Lois, in a distinctive New Zed twang. “They were at children’s care home today. I don’t know what’s happened to them. They are 5 and 8, you know. I don’t know how to find out about them.”
The radio announcer stuttered to make a suggestion.