Saturday, September 04, 2010

Japin' Round The World Revisited: New Zealand Earthquake


It’s odd when you return from travelling and then hear months later of a disaster striking one of the cities you’ve visited.

I’ve already encountered this once with Bangkok, after the Red shirt and Yellow Shirt riots ripped through the Siam district; fundamentally changing what was there when I saw it myself. I suppose I was able to get past this fact easily as I had little love for Bangkok.

Therefore I found it very sad to discover this morning that an Earthquake, rated seven on the Richter scale, had hit New Zealand and caused quite a bit of damage. New Zealand was easily one of my favourite locations, so to hear of such devastation was miserable news indeed.

Much of the damage seemed to be centred on Christchurch, which was closest to the epicentre, although I know through my contacts that it was felt as far away as Wellington. So it’s fair to say this was one hell of a quake, especially compared to the many other hundreds that hit the islands each year, which are quite weedy by comparison. Either way, it was a miracle that no one has been killed by yesterday’s monster quake.

However, it was tragic to see the damage done to Christchurch on the news. The city that I remember was a vibrant and easy going place, and it is such a shame to see what a state it is in today. Much of what I remember of the city may yet change, and render the place unrecognisable to what I saw. There is rubble from damaged buildings in the city streets, and giant cracks in the roads. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some buildings will have to be knocked down now, having been severely weakened by the quake. There has in fact a curfew in Christchurch overnight, for this very reason, as there is no way of knowing if more debris is going to crash onto someone out on the street.

Hopefully it will be a speedy recovery, and Christchurch will be restored soon. Still this does leave me with the question: what will be the next city I visited this year, to be hit with disaster next? Perhaps Sydney will break off from Australia and float off into the Pacific. Maybe Hanoi will be targeted by terrorists and Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum blown sky high. Or possibly Tokyo will attacked by Godzilla, or Hong Kong by pirates.

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