Sunday, February 27, 2011

What if...

The newspapers are hard reading this morning: full of images, personal accounts and overviews of the current situation in Christchurch and already predictions about the city's future. It's heavy going, though also of course morbidly fascinating, impossible to read without wondering "What if I'd been there? Is that cute little hotel I stayed in last time still standing? Did I even think then to check where the stairs were?"

They're required reading, though, if only because there are still so many unanswered questions, personal ones about people and places I know; so I'm seizing on snippets buried in the pages of type - a casual mention that my old school, Avonside Girls' High, was badly damaged; a reference to the person killed at The Press as "she", which makes me feel more comfortable about Ken.

Some of it's unbearably sad: trapped students phoning and texting their parents back home in Japan and the Philippines. Imagine being on the receiving end of that - and then the messages stopping. People who escaped, but went back inside to help someone, and then the building collapsed. Having to lift a dead woman to rescue the baby underneath who she'd protected. Awful, awful details.

One photo that was mentioned but not printed apparently showed a boy on a skateboard getting air after using the ruptured road as a ramp. That would have been good to see, as a bit of relief. And there have been lots of heart-warming accounts of community spirit out in the beleaguered suburbs. Even all those good-news stories are just blips, though: nowhere near enough to balance out the tragedy and the loss.

There was a mobile phone clip I've seen several times on TV that showed a red dome upside down on the road surrounded by broken bricks and concrete and glass and dust, and the man going past filming says "My God! Was there anyone inside?" It looked so familiar, but I couldn't place it. I've just found this photo from my visit in November:

2 comments:

Brett Atkinson said...

My favourite slice of High St - now all gone...

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10708756

Pam said...

It was a lovely building, another unique element of the city's architecture. So hard to imagine anything nearly as attractive being built in its place.

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