4th March 2011 by Andrew Needs, Ottawa | 2 Comments
All of New Zealand fell silent on Tuesday 1 March at 12:51pm, exactly one week after the devastating quake that struck Christchurch, our second biggest city. Many people gathered in public spaces to share that silence with their fellow citizens as they reflected on the tragedy that has impacted the whole nation. For the first time in almost a week the central business district of Christchurch was also quiet as the international contingent of search and rescue workers paused to join with a grieving nation. The CBD has been a “United Nations like” effort with teams from Australia, the US, UK, China, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore engaged in the painstaking, dangerous and heartrending process of a process that has now, sadly, turned from rescue to recovery. Right now it is hard to see positives amidst such loss. What has shone through however is the depth of human compassion, not just by fellow New Zealanders to their countrymen, but from the global community. Here in Canada our office has been flooded with concerned calls, offers of assistance and notifications of fundraising efforts, very often by expatriate kiwis who are feeling the distance from their homeland right now. Many would have observed the two minutes silence in their Canada time, in solidarity and for reflection.
Prime Minister Harper has spoken directly with Prime Minister Key, offering Canadian assistance and we are in the process of working out what expertise and equipment Canada can best provide to assist the effort on the ground in the coming weeks and months.
Devastating as the earthquake has been, it is important to remember that its impact was heavily localised. New Zealand remains very much open for business and for international visitors. All New Zealand airports are open, including Christchurch. All roads, except in Christchurch, are operational. Prime Minister Key has launched the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, a global fundraiser for the recovery effort in the city. Web details and other contact information is set out below:
Kia kaha (be strong)