This picture was taken of Christchurch just after the earthquake this week. It amazes me how a modern city with skyscrapers and office blocks in a developed, modern country like New Zealand can be so suddenly shaken to its core. Watching the films of buildings falling down and people running for their lives had a deep effect on me.
What we all take for granted, the area of the earth we choose to live in/on and the foundation of the ground beneath our feet, was taken away from the citizens of Christchurch. And for them, it was the second time it has happened in 6 months, which makes it so much worse. Imagine commuting into work, lunchbox in hand, paper under your arm, only to have to scramble out of a collapsed building 4 hours later. And that was just the lucky ones.
A few years ago, I witnessed (well felt really) an earthquake of about 7.5 on the Richter Scale whilst staying in LA, which everyone around me thought was the 'big one'. Whilst they went into disaster mode, diving under tables and standing in doorways, I just marveled at the wonder of the earth shaking beneath me, the still, erie calm that followed and then the incredible sound of literally millions of car alarms going off together. The after shocks came and went for about 10 days and were something you nonchalantly mentioned... oh there's another one.
And then a few weeks ago, at about 9pm on a Sunday night, in bed with my wife reading the papers, I felt the earth move again, in Leeds this time. Not exactly a hot-bed of seismic activity, but it was clear to me what had happened. Apparently the UK gets an earthquake of a reasonable magnitude about once a year.
Anyway, enough rambling, the point I wanted to make was not to take things for granted and think about others who are facing incredible hardships right now. And having lived through 2 earthquakes, I'm beginning to fear that the next one might have my name on it.