Monday, February 28, 2011

Thank goodness!

So relieved. My friend at The Press got back to me today: he'd just stepped out of the building a few minutes earlier to have lunch next door. "Chaos" he said, succinctly. Now he's down in Timaru, having to work from there till who knows when. I think it's wonderful that the paper hasn't missed an edition through all of this.

The death toll is now up to 147, but the names are trickling out very slowly. Today was the first funeral, of one of the two babies known so far to have died: a little boy, only 5 months old. So sad.

Another of the dead is one of our Travcom members, Rhys Brookbanks, who was only weeks into his first job at the CTV building, having just graduated, like my Firstborn, from journalism school. He was a poet, and is an entrant in our Awards, the New Writer category. The Gala Dinner evening is just over three weeks away. How will his people feel if he wins? The prize is money but even better, a travel assignment and a guarantee of publication in NZ's highest-circulation magazine. How bitter-sweet that would be.

But although there are still bits falling off the Port Hills, and the first 10 pages or so of the newspaper are still devoted to earthquake coverage, the radio is still interviewing people about quakes (not just ours - San Francisco is providing comfort and advice) and it's still big on TV, the rest of the world is creeping back into focus again. It's the start of the process of getting on with life, which must seem harsh to those in Christchurch holding vigils for bodies as yet unrecovered; but tomorrow at 12.51pm, one week after the disaster, there will be a two-minute silence across the country, and that will be a raw business.

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