February 23, 2011

15.01: 127 HOURS

I was intending to write-up my review of the new Danny Boyle film 127 Hours, the true-life tale of trapped amateur climber Aron Ralston (James Franco). But doing so after the massive earthquake that struck Christchurch yesterday, utterly devastating the South Island city, seems a bit... vulgar. To write about a film where one man is trapped in a rocky canyon for 5 days, while as I write this many more are trapped in buildings that have just collapsed in on themselves... I just don't think I can do it. I do feel I need to write, however. I cannot really explain this compulsion. Perhaps it is something that has become more hardwired into my brain over the last few months of this blog. Perhaps I need a way to organise my thoughts on this disaster, and writing it down is just how I do it. I'm not sure.

For those who read this blog, and live outside New Zealand, a massive earthquake struck the major South Island city of Christchurch yesterday afternoon. Christchurch was earlier rocked by an earthquake in September and much was talked about how lucky the city was that this struck in the middle of the night - there were no fatalities and those injured was minimal. The city was not so luck this time. The earthquake was shallower and struck right in the middle of lunchtime. The city centre looks utterly destroyed - many landmarks (including the Christchurch Cathedral) have been reduced to rubble. Workers returned from their lunchbreaks to find their workplaces gone, with many workers still trapped inside. There have been deaths, many deaths, and there will be more. 

I have no friends or family in Christchurch. But my friends do. I have colleagues down there. I live in Wellington, where they have been predicting "the big one" for the past 20 years or so. It seems to have struck Christchurch instead. The images that have shown on the news, constantly, have been truly shocking. Dust settled over the city, much like in New York after 9/11. The facades of buildings lay in the street, the rubble crushing cars underneath. People were frightened, in shock, injured. Some, depite being covered in blood and dust, were helping co-ordinate rescue efforts for their buildings.

They're still digging people out of the rubble. Bodies too, with the death toll rising and nearing 100 with more still missing. But people too. People have survived the night, and are still being discovered and rescued. A national state of emergency has been declared. Many people have lost their homes. To even go about regular day-to-day activities seems absurd to me. To write about a film, this film in particular, seems absurd in the extreme. 

If there is something you can do, or want to do, to help this city and the people in it... please do it. 

The NZ Red Cross
NZ Civil Defence
Stuff.co.nz: How to Help
Herald: How to Help
3News site

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