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Christchurch Cathedral before the quake

Just under two years ago, we were in Christchurch New Zealand, finishing up our month-long tour of both islands. We had turned in our campervan, and spent a night or two in the city before flying back to Aukland and then home to Arizona. It was early winter, later in the season than now, rainy and cold; our enormous hotel room was heated only by a space heater — an inefficient plug-in radiator — making it no warmer than the campervan had been in snowy Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park. We had booked blind into a hotel in the central business district for which we had no expectations except convenience and economy. But from our room, we found we had unexpectedly great views of the Christchurch Cathedral, right across Colombo St.

Here are two images I took then, before the structure, weakened by the September 2010 earthquake, succumbed to the 6.3 magnitude Canterbury quake which devastated the city yesterday. The spire was toppled, and the roof collapsed; at the writing of this post, there may still be victims inside. Google “Christchurch Cathedral” and you can see the awful contrast in the pictures the search will turn up. Many more buildings, and the people in them, were lost, of course, but these images were most vivid to me, being a place we’d seen.

Christchurch Cathedral (both photos A.Shock 2009)

My only connection with this vital, lovely city is our brief visit, but today I’m thinking of its people, many heading into winter with shattered shelter or workplaces. The New Zealand Red Cross is not currently taking donations of goods or volunteers, but here is their website for more info or in case you want to keep in touch with their efforts as the situation develops.

Posted by Allison on Feb 22nd 2011 06:17 pm | No Comments yet
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