Prayers for Christchurch, New Zealand

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Christchurch was rocked yesterday by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.  There have been fatalaties and substantial damage was done to that lovely city.

Christchurch residents were going about their daily business when a violent 6.3 earthquake shook their city on Tuesday 22nd February. The earthquake happened at lunchtime and by 10pm that night the death toll was confirmed at 65. Mayor Bob Parker has warned people that this figure will undoubtedly rise. Approximately 120 people have been pulled from the rubble and it is estimated that another 100 are still trapped.

Bob Parker has appealed to the public to conserve water. The earthquake has caused extensive damage to the waterways and sewerage system that were already crippled by the 4th September quake. At this time, water is only being pumped to the northwest of Christchurch and this is not at full strength. People have been asked not to shower or flush toilets unnecessarily. All drinking water must be boiled.

It is estimated that 80% of Christchurch has no power after the earthquake damaged electrical substations. Power and gas to the city centre have been cut to the CBD but in spite of this, a couple of fires have broken out.

I know readers of The American Catholic will be besieging Heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christchurch, as well as making contributions to the relief funds I am sure will be set up. 

An update from longtime commenter Don the Kiwi:

Even though this quake at 6.3 was not as strong as the last one in September last year which was 7.1, the epicentre was much closer to the city – only 10 kilometers as opposed to 40 km., and was much shallower – only 5 km. as opposed to 20. So the effect has much much stronger and more devestating. Most of the older building in the city have been flattened or damaged beyond repair, as many modern buildings have also. Many building which had been weakened from the last quake but still habitable, have now been totalled. The Christchurch Cathedral – Anglican – has lost its Gothic spire, and much of the building, although still standing, is considered a right-off.


The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is of Byzantine style, but I have not heard how it has fared this time. I will e-mail my friend Steve Sparrow in Chch to get an update.

 

I also have 2 friends from Tauranga down there – they are building contractors, and have been down there for some months doing damage assessments on mainly residential homes. In the last quake, 90,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Now there are a few more. I heard of one person who just moved back into his renovated home 48 hour before this second quake – this time, he needs a new house.

 

I have e-mailed Don with a message from my friend in Chch – he is okay, but our Basilica appears to be history, along with the Anglican cathedral.

The vieao linked shows a beatiful old anglican church, and one of the many beautilful old homes around Chch. The suburb of Brighton where it shows flooding is close to the coast and low lying – much of the flooding would have been liquefaction.

The city is still experiencing severe aftershocks, and the bigest highest hotel in Chch has suffered structural damage, and will probably colapse bringing with it other nearby buildings. the CTV building near to it has had major collapse, and it is feared that many of the 300 people who work there have been killed.

My friends who are doing assessment there are safe. One was actually inside a house inspecting a chimney, but the chimney stayed upright – he is pretty shaken though.

Many countries are providing help. The Aussies landed a specialist team at first light this morning. The Americnas and British are sending specialist teams, as are one of our Arab trading partners, along with others in the Pacific rim. The response has been amazing.

Even though Chch is our second largest city, there are only about 400,000 inhabitant population – one advantage in a situation like this I guess. Still, the human tragedy is not diminished by numbers. There are trajic as well as heroic stories coming out of this event as I type.

Your prayers are appreciated. God bless you all.

Here is the e-mail from Don the Kiwi’s friend Steve Sparrow:

 

Hi Don & Sandy, we’re probably okay materially & psychologically – emotionally no.  Our family is okay.  It was terrifying.  The piano was nearly flung down on me as I was thrown off my feet.  The final death toll has to be unbelievable.  I think our beautiful basilica is history.
God bless
Steve
We all need to keep praying about this as well as making material contributions to the relief effort.  In the face of this type of tragedy we only have God and each other.

 

10 Responses to Prayers for Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Just heard on the radio that the (Catholic?) Cathedral also came down is now a heap of rubble.

    I’ll look online for more information.

  • Both the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals have been damaged, not destroyed.

    But still a sad even all the way around.

    http://australiaincognita.blogspot.com/2011/02/another-earthquake-please-pray-for.html

    Dear Padre Pio please intercede for the safety of those that survived and for those that have perished.

  • Has anyone heard anything from frequent commenter Don the Kiwi since the quake? If my memory serves me, he’s from ChristChurch, or at least that metro area of the South Island! Prayers for you and your countrymen down under, Don! Let us know that you are well and how things are on-site!

    P.S. I spent almost a month in New Zealand back in 2007, and it’s by far the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited, apart from the U.S., which is its equal!

  • I won’t rest easy Kevin until we hear from Don. I pray that he is all right. He lives on the North Island in Tauranga. Christchurch is of course on the South Island.

  • Thanks for this post Don.
    I was going to e-mail you yesterday evening, but had to go out to a family bar bq, as my sister-in -law is returning to Argentina on Friday – my brother will follow in a couple of months. Also I had to go to Taupo first thing this morning, so was pleasantly surprised to see your post just now when I got home.

    Thank you Kevin in Texas.
    No, I’m not from Christchuch – about 600 mile away, and in the North Island – my home town is Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty. I have a couple of friends in Chch, and an elderly cousin. I will contact one of them to see how they are faring.

    Even though this quake at 6.3 was not as strong as the last one in September last year which was 7.1, the epicentre was much closer to the city – only 10 kilometers as opposed to 40 km., and was much shallower – only 5 km. as opposed to 20. So the effect has much much stronger and more devestating. Most of the older building in the city have been flattened or damaged beyond repair, as many modern buildings have also. Many building which had been weakened from the last quake but still habitable, have now been totalled. The Christchurch Cathedral – Anglican – has lost its Gothic spire, and much of the building, although still standing, is considered a right-off.
    The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is of Byzantine style, but I have not heard how it has fared this time. I will e-mail my friend Steve Sparrow in Chch to get an update.

    I also have 2 friends from Tauranga down there – they are building contractors, and have been down there for some months doing damage assessments on mainly residential homes. In the last quake, 90,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Now there are a few more. I heard of one person who just moved back into his renovated home 48 hour before this second quake – this time, he needs a new house.

    Thanks for your prayers and good wishes. I’ll get back later.

  • Hi Don.

    I see we cross -posted. I’ll be checking the news shortly to get an update.
    BTW, I was considering going down to Chch to be an assessor, because they are earning very big bucks. But, to my wife’s displeasure, I decided to stay home; but I haven’t heard how my friends working there are either. I hope they weren’t crawling around under a houe, or inspecting a roof from the inside when the quake struck.

    I’ll find out this evening.

  • Great to hear from you Don! Thank you for the update!

  • Thanks for writing in, Don! Glad you and yours are well, and continued prayers for your countrymen down south. It’s amazing how much destruction a 7.1 quake can wreak on a city if its epicenter is close enough to it. Now I do recall that you were from up north way–near Paterson North, correct?

  • Hi Kevin in Texas.
    Palmerston North is about 400 km.(250 miles) south of where I am – still in the North Island but close to Wellington. Check your atlas. ;-)

    I have e-mailed Don with a message from my friend in Chch – he is okay, but our Basilica appears to be history, along with the Anglican cathedral.

    The vieao linked shows a beatiful old anglican church, and one of the many beautilful old homes around Chch. The suburb of Brighton where it shows flooding is close to the coast and low lying – much of the flooding would have been liquefaction.

    The city is still experiencing severe aftershocks, and the bigest highest hotel in Chch has suffered structural damage, and will probably colapse bringing with it other nearby buildings. the CTV building near to it has had major collapse, and it is feared that many of the 300 people who work there have been killed.

    My friends who are doing assessment there are safe. One was actually inside a house inspecting a chimney, but the chimney stayed upright – he is pretty shaken though.

    Many countries are providing help. The Aussies landed a specialist team at first light this morning. The Americnas and British are sending specialist teams, as are one of our Arab trading partners, along with others in the Pacific rim. The response has been amazing.

    Even though Chch is our second largest city, there are only about 400,000 inhabitant population – one advantage in a situation like this I guess. Still, the human tragedy is not diminished by numbers. There are trajic as well as heroic stories coming out of this event as I type.

    Your prayers are appreciated. God bless you all.

  • Hi Don,

    Once again, glad to hear you and yours are safe and sound, but sad to see the increasing number of casualties there over the past two days. Prayers to you all, as always!

    Now I remember the reason for my geographical confusion about your location, Don–a while back here, you and I discussed the various NZ bishops and their levels of orthodoxy. You had mentioned the Bishop of Palmerston North specifically, so I must have associated you with living there, for some reason. Not sure how I ever associated you w/ Christchurch, but let’s chalk it up to genuine concern for a Catholic brother during a natural disaster in your part of the world! :-)

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