Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Earthquake perspectives

After a big natural disaster, we want to know and understand what happened. We feel a connection, even when our personal connections are minimal.

Because so many folks overseas have gotten to know me through this blog or my podcasts, they often think of me when New Zealand is in the news. Sometimes, it’s positive stuff (like Auckland being named the tenth most liveable city in the world, something I would’ve blogged about had the earthquake not happened). Sometimes, though, it’s disasters that draw the attention. News is global, even if specific knowledge about geography, for example, is not.

So, as I said yesterday, when a disaster happens, I use social media to let people know we’re okay. To me, it seems especially appropriate, since so many people know me only through social media.

I’m turning to social media again to share some other things:

First, to help folks overseas appreciate how far away Christchurch is from Auckland, here are a few comparisons: It’s roughly the same distance as from Chicago to Memphis (another city at risk of a massive earthquake). Christchurch is farther from Auckland than New York City is from Raleigh, North Carolina or London is from Hamburg or Sydney from Brisbane (direct distance, not road or travelling distance).

Also, there have been some amazing first-hand accounts, starting with the aftermath video at the top of this post. There are also some photos with shocking side-by-side before and after comparisons at news.com.au. The New Zealand Herald has posted other photos.

Here are some first-person accounts:

How Twitter brought us news that our family in Christchurch was safe: a remarkable story – Brian Edwards' personal story

New Zealand earthquake: 'A moment of silence. Then a wail of sirens' - David Haywood’s story

The day the earth roared - Vicki Anderson’s story

I share all these because I think they help to humanise the tragedy, make it something we can relate to more than statistics, media briefings or news bulletins can do by themselves. I don't know any of these people, and yet through their efforts I can relate to their personal experiences. Sometimes, social media is a really great thing.


Amerinz's Sis said...

We send our deepest sympathy to those who have lost friends and loved ones in this tragedy. Our prayers are with them and with those still to be found. We also pray for the search and rescue teams and their tireless determination to rescue those still missing. God bless!!

Nik said...

The before/after photos from the Aussie web site are amazing. Fascinating how they did that.