Friday, December 21, 2007

Not Auckland—this time

Last night's earthquake wasn't felt in Auckland. There as no damage here, no injuries. Not this time.

I begin with and focus on that since I know that friends overseas are likely to hear about the earthquake, thanks, in part, to the availability of security cam footage showing stock flying off store shelves (and not in the good way). I've already been contacted by one friend, and I want to reassure all the others, too. What's the point of having a blog if you can't use it for that kind of thing?

The first I heard about the earthquake was just before I went to bed, when I decided to check the headlines on the Stuff and NZ Herald websites. “Massive earthquake hits New Zealand”, the headlines screamed. Came as a total shock to me because despite being felt in places along the eastern coast of the North Island and the South Island, too—apparently all the way to Christchurch—we felt nothing here. It was like reading about an earthquake in another country.

One day, there will a similar event in the Auckland region. It's not “if”, but “when”, although in Auckland's case it's possible, maybe even likely, to be caused by a volcano emerging. Wellington has similarly been waiting for “the big one”. Other regions face similar risks.

The point is that all of New Zealand is potentially at risk, and it's a general awareness we all have. But there's no predicting when a specific event will happen, and it's entirely possible that a catastrophic earthquake may not happen for many generations, so we all just get on with life.

The good news in this earthquake is that no one was killed and apparently injuries were minor. There was no risk of tsunami, either.

Even so, I doubt the residents and business owners of Gisborne will be feeling lucky this morning, at least not totally. All New Zealanders can relate, aware that it can easily be them next time. So I send my best wishes to Gisborne, and I hope they're able to re-open their Central Business District quickly so retailers and residents alike can quickly regain some sense of normality. Despite the risk, life goes on, as it must.

Update 22/12/07: Gisborne's CBD is open again, and early estimates are that there was $30 million in damage (today, about US$23,002,500). Meanwhile, scientists are saying the New Zealand is "overdue" for amd even bigger earthquake. How nice.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Arthur for letting us know. I was concerned when I heard about it and checked the blog! Have a happy holiday!

Brian in Rochester

Arthur Schenck said...

Thanks for your concern, Brian! It's kind of cool, really, how the Internet creates all these personal connections, then makes it possible to maintain them.

Hope you have a great holiday, too!