Friday 25 February 2011

Update from hell

It's difficult not to be over-dramatic from where I am sitting right now.

Just over a week or so ago, I was in the middle of post-Cyclone Yasi communities, and saw the awful devastation of homes and building and a significant amount of natural vegetation. Of course those of us who have lived in North Queensland is no stranger to Cyclones and we can prepare, both emotionally and physically, even when the outcome is total loss of possessions.

It's been a trying time for us all in recent weeks. The flooding in South East Queensland was shocking, taking 22 lives. Cyclone Yasi spared us as we fled and looked after our friends and loved ones. And this Tuesday, we all learn't the news of yet another quake in an already distraught and shaken Christchurch.

You obviously feel closer and impacted to a dramatic event when there's a real connection like family, however there's much affection and connection with New Zealand, as like many Kiwis, I also decided to make North Queensland my home.

I will write shortly of my venture out yesterday and try my best to relay the sights. Authorities asked to not use cars for the second day so I travelled by cycle across the city, CBD and the eastern suburbs, eventually arriving at mum's home. It was like a movie with a terrible ending, a shocking journey. The town is a wreak, building after building, street after street, beyond any simple comprehension, and of course comes on the back of five months of large aftershocks.

As you may expect, I have to dedicate much time right now to mum and her home, which is unlivable. I was greeted with an extraordinary sight when I entered it around 5pm last night - and as I stood there in wonder, another 4.3 aftershock hit. Most of the central part of the city and eastern side of town is completely without power and water.

The numbers...
  • 103 people are dead, 228 still missing
  • 122 people are thought to be inside the CTV building on Madras Street
  • Ann Bodkin was the last person rescued, from the Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) building, at 2.25pm Wednesday
  • 16 to 22 people are feared trapped under falling masonary from ChristChurch Cathedral
  • 29 people have been rescued from the Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) building, with 14 PGC staff unaccounted for
  • More than 600 search and rescue workers, including international workers from Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, the US and the UK are to search for survivors
  • 70 people pulled alive from the rubble
  • New Zealand Defence Force has 1,118 personnel working in Christchurch and Lyttelton; 738 Army, 200 Navy, and 150 airforce
  • 60% of the city is without water supply
  • 25% of the city has no power supply
  • 11 people are in intensive care as of Thursday night; 164 people had serious injuries
  • 431 patients have been treated at triage centres
  • 164 people were admitted to Christchurch Hospital in the first 24 hours after the quake, many with head and neck, spinal and crushing injuries
  • 220 people treated with major trauma injuries at Christchurch Hospital on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning
  • 1500-2000 people have been treated for minor injuries at medical centres around the city
  • 80 residents from two residential care facilities, including my mother, have been relocated to other sites around Christchurch. Canterbury District Health Board says up to 200 residents could be relocated.
  • 45 teams of building consent officers, EQC staff, welfare support and engineers today visiting the worst affected suburbs today - New Brighton, Dallington, Avonside, Parklands, Queenspark, St Martins, Opawa, Lyttelton.
  • 100 teams of building consent officers, EQC staff, welfare support and engineers visiting properties in Sumner, Redcliffs, Woolston, Ferrymead, Hoon Hay, Richmond, St Albans, Fendalton and Merivale over the next few days.
  • St John have 40 ambulances working in Christchurch, with 20 support cars, 20 aircraft and 117 staff
  • Red Cross has 130 staff working in Christchurch
  • Fonterra has supplied 34 tankers with 20,000 litre capacities to distribute water at sites across Christchurch
  • Air New Zealand has offered 1600 extra seats on flights in and out of Christchurch
  • 1,400 offers of accommodation for quake-stricken Cantabrians have been offered.
  • $5 million has been donated by the Australian Government for earthquake recovery
  • 30 per cent of GPs in the Christchurch area are open, Canterbury District Health Board is anticipating that 60 per cent will be open in the near future
  • All schools are still closed
    (stats from The Press)


Deslie Gordon said...

Michael, knowing the roller coaster of emotions we've all been through here in Queensland in recent times with the floods and cyclones..I still can't even begin to imagine how people are feeling in Christchurch.It's just devastating to see what has happened, and to know that the residents there are confronted not only with the constant visual reminders, but waiting for the inevitable, seemingly never ending heart just goes out to everyone there. Take care...and know that we are all thinking of everyone in New Zealand.

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

What I find extraordinary is the fact that the two most devastating events this year in our region ( I am including new Zealand in that) have been sudden and without warning. Yes, the cyclone and the floods caused extensive damage. Yes they were traumatic events for all of us. They were, however, foreseen. We had advance warning of several days with both and because of that many lives were saved. With the earthquake in christchurch and the wave that raged through toowoomba and the Lockyer valley, there was very little, if any, warning and the loss of life has been horrific. My thoughts are with you mike. Stay safe and well. I've said it before and I'll say it again..... Bring your mum back with you!!