New Zealand in mourning
25th November 2010 by Andrew Matheson, | 6 Comments
New Zealand is grieving. The world has been watching while a tragedy unfolded at a coal mine in the South Island of New Zealand. Families and friends of the 29 workers trapped underground waited, and hoped.
Sadly that hope was extinguished yesterday when another huge explosion ripped through the mine. Today the whole nation is mourning. Flags are flying at half mast throughout New Zealand and on New Zealand government buildings around the world, including the embassy and residence in Manila.
I’ve been touched by the messages of sympathy and support that have already started coming into the embassy. Anyone is welcome to come to the embassy to sign our condolence book.
A tragedy like this shows that the world is a small place after all. Other countries did not hesitate to provide assistance for the rescue effort. Sadly families and friends are grieving in other countries too — in Australia, the UK and South Africa, where in total five of the lost miners hailed from.
There is a community grieving in the Philippines too as the wife of one of the miners, Richard Holling, is from this country. I’ve blogged before about the growing links between our two countries — something we celebrate, but sadly also something that is demonstrated by tragic events such as this.
A disaster this huge has an enormous impact on a small country. But as the Prime Minister John Key said yesterday:
“At this time of national pain, let us not lose sight of what truly makes New Zealand great. We are a tough and resilient country. We care deeply for our fellow countrymen and women. We are a series of communities knitted together by a set of values and principles that have guided us together through good times and bad.
“It is this spirit that will see us through.”