Friday, June 17, 2011

On shaky ground

From Zealand- (via The Economist)

“HAPPY the country that never makes the front page” we said recently of Australia. Even more apt for its smaller sibling across the Tasman Sea, where usually only stories of rugby, hobbits or whale-strandings trouble even the inner sections of the papers published abroad. A run of earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city, has changed all that. The first, last September, was notable mainly for its miraculous outcome (zero deaths vs 7.1 magnitude and much destruction). No such luck on February 22nd, when a 6.3 magnitude tremor killed 181 people and destroyed the already weakened city centre.

Christchurch is a city under siege, its inner heart crumbling and cordoned off. Aftershocks abound, always bringing with them the reminder of the next big one: there is supposedly a 25-30% chance that it will come sometime soon. A couple of particularly big shakes on Monday collapsed many more buildings and ruined much of the recovery, both in structure and spirit, that had begun to emerge. Further damage befell the massive stone Anglican cathedral after which the city is named, narrowing the prospect of its symbolic restoration.

More here-

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