I have been reading and reading and reading this week - not books but about the earthquake. Auckland is a long way from Christchurch and I am a long way from my comfort zone. It's a little hard to process that this quiet, green land also rumbles and roars.
I guess it's a little like bushfires in southern Australia. If you live in or near the bush you've probably been caught up in one or at least know what you should do. Or we thought we knew until Black Saturday.
Perhaps that's how the people of Christchurch are feeling. Also feeling lucky but a little taken by surprise. It wasn't supposed to be them but more likely Wellington or Hawkes Bay. They sound a little over it now but there's no let up. I guess they're finding out now why the aftershocks are called just that.
I have just read this from Christchurch blogger Mike Dickison, the thirteen things he's learned about earthquakes. He's also in today's paper, here. I like his approach. Very Kiwi.
And fellow blogger Rachel from The Far Side of the World has written about what's she's learned too. Interesting, have a look here.
I have been grilling everyone I meet (subtly though so they don't think I am a nancy-girl Australian) and trying to find out whether I need to be prepared for anything in Auckland. Oh just the ring of fire I am told. All those sweet, green volcanoes we climb with the kids.
The Civil Defence website offers little comfort.... "due to the wide range and severity of potential hazards, volcanoes can cause the biggest loss of life." Lava flows, ballistics and tephra (the stuff that's thrown out the top) and pyroclastic flows, hot clouds of material thrown quickly across land. Mmmm. I am not one to panic or even listen to warnings. I'm a journalist. We give them out, not act on them. We're stupid like that.
One thing perhaps we've all learned is how very lucky we are to live in the first world, not the third. The Christchurch volcano was on a par with Haiti. Life or loss of it, is just not fair.
(First picture from NZ Herald)