Monday 22 February 2021

Ten years

Wow. Ten years. It's been ten whole years since that summer lunchtime when I and the nice local guy who was painting our house (and whose name I can't remember - sorry, mate) left our respective work and stood in the living room watching in appalled horror at the scenes on TV coming out of Christchurch. 6.3, officially an aftershock from the bigger September earthquake, but shallower, and closer, and so destructive, of both lives and buildings. 185 people were killed, and hundreds of thousands of others' lives were changed forever, some by injury, all by shock.

Today, the city is - slowly - reinventing itself, with some parts a triumph, others sneered at as mistakes, plenty more projects still waiting to be finished or even started. There are still expanses of nothing, where once there were lovely heritage buildings, or homes, and that is really sad. But nothing is so sad as dead babies, dead teenagers far from their homes overseas, a dead brother still holding his sister's hand under the rubble, a woman being separated onsite from her pinned-down legs. 

Poor Christchurch. At least, finally, work has begun on restoring the cathedral, symbol and heart of the city - but it will only have the same outward appearance as before. Inside, it will be changed. But, hopefully, stronger.

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