Every time NZ Prime Minister John Key’s phone rings, he must fear the worst. Every time your average Kiwi switches on the news, they must dread what they’re about to hear.
Our tiny neighbour across the Tasman experienced disaster after disaster in 2011.
Unfortunately, the first week of 2012 brought events that jogged painful memories of the events of the previous year - and another tragedy of its own.
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On September 4 last year, Christchurch was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake which caused widespread damage but no fatalities. The quake that shook the city in February this year was of a lesser magnitude, at 6.3, but it had far more dire consequences.
The quake struck early afternoon local time. It was morning here in Australia and The Punch team remembers watching the scenes of horror unfold on the multiple TV monitors in our office. The quake exacerbated much of the damage done by the previous one. In total, 181 were killed.
You could tell things were bad when you saw the severe damage to Christchurch’s signature building, the 19th century cathedral in the main city square. But the real devastation happened both in the suburbs and at other buildings in the city – in particular the Canterbury Television Building, where over half the deaths occurred.
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An old lady rang Tony Delroy’s late-night program on ABC Radio after midnight on Tuesday with a complaint. She was a contestant in his popular quiz, and before she tried to answer a general knowledge question, she chatted with Delroy about how fed up she was with the saturation coverage the Christchurch earthquake was receiving.
She said she couldn’t believe that most of the free to air television stations had interrupted their regular programming to run continuous coverage of this event. She was upset that her usual soaps and game shows weren’t on. It’s probably not as upsetting as being in a massive earthquake, but there you go.
It struck me as a selfish and heartless complaint. But perhaps this old lady had an acutely-developed sense of that natural human repulsion towards tragedy.
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This is a worthwhile little fund raising video for victims of the Christchurch earthquake from the same guys who brought us the imbeachedaz whale.
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