The news just gets worse every day. The headlines are all about the extensive demolition of 900 buildings, the 15 years it will take to restore the Arts Centre, the millions of tonnes of rubble and how and what to rebuild, so finding that it might take a long time to get the Cathedral restored fits the pattern and is no real surprise. Sad though. The bit that worries me most is that the security camera from the tower was triggered by movement and showed no evidence of people up there for three minutes prior to the quake..... so apparently no one was killed. Now it says there is new security footage showing people on the balcony in the three minutes prior to the quake... did this mean they were out of the range of the movement cameras. Are there still people in there?
The inquest was held recently for those seen and known to be lost in the CTV building, but for which no human remains have been recovered despite extensive filtering and recovery. The unresolved loss for those families is unimaginable. The Pike River mine families are still fighting for their loved ones to be recovered... it is part of human grief to want to lay people to rest.
Our television showed a moving documentary this week on the first five days after the quake, from the view of police recruited from further down south to help. You can see the full programme here:
While all other media were kept outside the red zone when the earthquake hit Christchurch on February 22, 2011, one camera had the extraordinary opportunity to document from inside the cordoned off area. TV ONE’s local documentary, 5 Days In The Red Zone follows the Rural Drink Drive Team from Alexandra, who were called into Christchurch after the earthquake.
They occupy a broken world that once belonged to the thousands who worked and lived in the central city. These rural officers hoped they would be saving lives and rescuing people, but what they discover is an eerie place full of strangeness, sadness, bizarre moments and the challenge of dealing with the dead, not the living.
When I watched it, I was struck by how, after the first day of suburban guard duty, they became more involved in the central city damage, eventually being involved in the tragic recovery of a young mother and her new baby, who were known to have been in the area but had not been seen since the quake. Sadly, the search dog became interested in the rubble and they went digging. The effect it had on the digger driver and the police involved will always haunt me. Yesterday, I left work and sat at the traffic lights by the cordon in Manchester St, looking up at the moving poppy statue by the old Ruben Blades building. I realised for the first time that it is exactly where this sad pair were found together and I cried for them; Five week old Taneysha and her 18-year-old mother Kelsey Sinitta Moore
What awaits us in the cathedral?
On a positive note, there was a lot of news about another mother and baby in the earthquake. All the news said the baby was taken to hospital and the mother died at the scene..... apparently she was only unconscious and medics were able to get her to hospital later in the day to be reunited later with her baby.... a small positive note in the gloom.
To quote one of the policemen from the documentary - "we are returning to paradise - and they have to stay here....".
Well yes, we do. And it is not always easy but it is not all bad. The people make a city every bit as much as the buildings, and we are off for a Trivial Pursuit evening and a decent bottle of plonk tonight.... and it has been a long time since I did that - and I am really looking forward to some fun and laughter!!!