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Sir Rols

Christchurch Quake

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There's always someone wanting to use tragedy to push their own bigotry:

'Despicable': website blames Christchurch quake on gay community

A website that claims Christchurch's devastating earthquake was an act of God triggered by the tolerance of homosexual behaviour in the city has been denounced as ''despicable and appalling'' by New Zealand's gay and lesbian community.

The website ''Christchurch Quake'' - registered on September 20 to an address in Utah in the USA - suggests the destruction was a result of ''lesbians running loose on the South Island as if they own the place'' and general ''amoral'' behaviour.

Among other inflammatory accusations, the website alleges that the earlier September earthquake, which coincided with the start of Gay Ski Week in Queenstown, was a warning from God to ''End the Evil - or else!''.

The website claims the September earthquake warning had not been heeded, leading to Tuesday’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which has killed at least 76 people, with reports of up to 300 still missing.

It also suggests other natural disasters in New Zealand, including the Pike River mine disaster which killed 29 men in November, was triggered by the country’s relaxed attitudes.

Jay Bennie, who runs the Auckland-based gay and lesbian website GayNz.com, said the people of Christchurch were already under enough stress without reading such outrageous comments.

‘‘I think it’s despicable, I think it’s appallingly insensitive, not only to gays and lesbians but to the suggestion that the people of Christchurch, by embracing gays and lesbians to certain degrees in their society, have brought this upon themselves. How cruel,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m originally from Christchurch, I’ve got family and friends down there. They’re all okay, but I know the stress they’re going through. They don’t need people like this trying to heap moral judgments and their own personal neuroses onto them and the others who are suffering in Christchurch.’’

Mr Bennie said he believed religious conservatives were responsible for the website, which says Christchurch was founded by a group of devout Anglicans who built for a purpose a cathedral at its centre.

‘‘They wanted to build a city where God was at the centre of their lives, physically and spiritually. Even the name of the city reflects their intention,’’ it says.

Mr Bennie said many religious conservatives lived in the American mid-west, and felt threatened by changing social attitudes.

‘‘The sort of people who do this, my understanding is that they have a tendency to see the world as a very unsafe place for them and their families because of changing social trends,’’ he said.

‘‘This feeds into their sense of doom, the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh kind of possibility, and that gays and lesbians are seen as a particular threat to the family.

‘‘It’s very strong in the American mid-west, as a lot of these conservative, evangelical, Pentecostal kind of religious elements are there, and that that flavour spreads around the world and then pops up in places like New Zealand and Australia and anywhere that there is a disaster that they in their minds can somehow connect.’’

Sydney Morning Herald

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Anyway, if you GBers did not know about this piece of news, Christchurch just finished hosting the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships last month. Talk about a close call for all those athletes from around the world then. A total of about 1,000 athletes from 79 different countries competed in this competition. It is considered an event equivalent to the IAAF World Championships for the able-bodied athletes in stature.

2011_IPC_world_champs_logo.gif

Good thing the earthquake didn't occur during this event. It would have been terrible for the athletes to experience that, on top of their various disabilities that they have to endure every day.

I hope that Christchurch can recover quickly from this tragic event. RIP for those who had died. :(

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An amazing panorama pic, from Twitter, of a view of Christchurch seconds after the quake hit:

657706-christchurch-quake.jpg

I also found this announcement re-assuring:

Cathedral will be rebuilt, mayor says

Christchurch's iconic cathedral, one of the city's most badly damaged buildings in Tuesday's deadly earthquake, will be rebuilt, says mayor Bob Parker.

Work started on Friday morning to remove bodies from the destroyed building.

Up to 22 people are believed to have been buried in the rubble.

Engineers will start to carefully work on removing loose and insecure masonry to enable Urban Search and Rescue teams to search through the rubble.

The work would be "delicate, difficult and likely to take quite some time", engineers said.

Parker said the cathedral was a stunning and symbolic building that would be rebuilt.

It was realistic to start thinking about the new, stronger city that would rise out of the ruins, he said.

Nine News

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:( The Cathedral is still a tomb at this stage. A press conference about it states it will be a long slow recovery for it's victims.

The Cathedral IS Christ Church, and is the ciy's heart. All major roads lead to and from the church's square. The city without it's iconic Church is like Paris without it's Eiffel Tower.

The Cathedral will be taken down stone by stone and then be rebuilt around a steel skeleton, something that was a reprehensable dream mooted years ago, but now, sadly a reality. (they had aready started strengthening walls and roof even before the Sept '10 event.)

:mellow: 113 dead confirmed.

Edited by Alexjc88

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I cannot begin to say how saddened I am to see what has happened in Christchurch - a friend of mine in DC sent me a message on facebook telling me to check out the news and when I did I couldn't believe it. Although I lived in Wellington when I studied abroad in NZ I went down to the South Island for about a week and Christchurch was somewhere that I visited. To be honest, I would have to say that my time in Christchurch was probably the most memorable for personal reasons but also because I found the city very charming and the people some of the friendliest in New Zealand.

It has been so sad to see the destruction from the earthquake on this city. Although I am not in NZ anymore I still consider it my 2nd home and my heart really aches to see this happening. I just want to send a message to my fellow Kiwis that I am thinking about you all and I know that the people of Christchurch and New Zealand will pull through.

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I wish the Canadian government would offer to double donations made to earthquake relief like they have for other disasters.

There's really not a lot that the Canadian Government can do any more than what they have offered in support. The USA has sent a strong force of USAR troops and that has pretty much topped out all that NZ needs. All it takes for another disaster like this on the opposite side of the world...

:mellow: 143 confirmed dead, 200+ still missing.

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I've spent most of friday and the weekend vulunteering at Auckland airport translating for Japanese tourist and students. There was a group of NSW police and US civil defence officers who came through on transit to Christchurch and the whole terminal erupted into cheers and applause. It was really quite moving.

Edited by stevie

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:mellow: Really now it's all about final recovery, cleaning up, shoring up, demolishing, assessing, relocating and planing for a new city. This will take NZ all the way to the 2030's to recover.

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It might look grim now, but honestly, the likes of Tokyo (a few times), Dresden, Berlin, Hiroshima, Mexico City etc etc all rose again remarkably quickly after their devastations. Christchurch WILL rise again too.

I also think, that like Queensland now, the short term effect will of course be a big slump. But by the time recovery spending kicks in, don't be surprised if rebuilding leads to relative economic growth.

Edited by Sir Rols

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:mellow: Really now it's all about final recovery, cleaning up, shoring up, demolishing, assessing, relocating and planing for a new city. This will take NZ all the way to the 2030's to recover.

Be optimistic!

In all places, there have been a lot of disasters around the world and most of them have recovered. And even in a few years.

Last month I went to Concepción and Talcahuano, one of the cities most destroyed with the earthquake of Feb 2011, and a lot of places were recovered already; both downtowns were mostly ok and even the coast board in Talcahuano was being rebuilt after being whipped out by a tsunami. I was reading the other day a book about the 1962 World Cup in Chile and there was a chapter in the book talking about the cities that were distroyed by the largest earthquake in history (1960). 10,000 people died... but in two years, all the cities were ok; even few months after the earthquake, Concepción and Talca bidded to host matches in the World Cup and their stadiums, although weren't awarded with any match, were inaugurated before the stadiums in cities without the earthquake.

The most difficult thing is always the houses because you have to look all the houses, allocate government funding and be careful to not spend money in buildings that are mostly ok.

Take a look at www.reconstruyendochile.cl and look for Logros and Galerías. It's not easy to recover after a disaster of this magnitude but everyone does it and I'm sure New Zealand will.

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:( Here we go again! This time a Double-Double Whammy!! 5.5 at 1pm and 4.4 at 1.20pm Then at 2pm a 6.0 and then a 4 shortly after.

Red zone, already evacuated is closed again as more damaged buildings fall. Liquefaction is, as usual causing the most problems.

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Nice to see a positive story out of Chch:

Christchurch party set up after London Games

5626998.jpg

Alison Shanks gripping gold while walking down Colombo Street.

Val Adams basking in Olympic glory in Hagley Park.

The finer details have not yet been nailed down, but a party is being planned for Christchurch after next year's Olympic Games, with the team set to arrive back in New Zealand after competing in London, via the Garden City – hopefully with a swag of medals to help the festivities.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee's head honchos unveiled the plan in Christchurch yesterday. They confirmed that Adams and Shanks, plus several other athletes, including Mahe Drysdale, had committed to the initiative.

How the NZOC will corral a bunch of peripatetic athletes to the one airport after a milestone Olympics has yet to be determined.

But the team's chef de mission, Dave Currie, said he was confident they would show up en masse in a gesture of solidarity with the city.

A date has been set – August 17 – but not much else; the finer details to be worked out by Christchurch City Council.

The gesture comes on the back of more tangible news.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday donated about $150,000 towards outfitting a temporary high-performance training facility in Christchurch.

Since QEII was closed in February, athletes have been without a high-performance unit to train at. It prompted the likes of heptathlete Rebecca Wardell to shift to Dunedin.

Most of her colleagues competed in the northern hemisphere during our winter, so the situation has not impacted greatly on Olympic preparations. But the local high-performance sporting community is anxious the situation is resolved, a new home is found and hopes seed money will help give momentum to the process.

The big question is where will the new unit and its staff be housed. Jellie Park is tipped as an early frontrunner.

"We just need to get something up and running," Wardell said yesterday. "Jellie Park would be good because it has a pool and it's really important to have everything in the one place under the same roof.

"That's really my only concern. I don't have any strong views where it should be."

New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary-general Kereyn Smith said her predecessor, former Christchurch hockey international Barry Maister, had lobbied the IOC to make a financial donation after the quake.

Its secretary-general Jacques Rogge is due to visit New Zealand for the NZOC's centenary celebrations next month.

"[Maister's] influence was pivotal," she said. "It's a great gesture by the IOC."

Meanwhile, Wardell is set to return to the track later this week after a year of recuperation from injuries.

She has not run let alone competed since she tore ligaments in her ankle at the Commonwealth Games last year in Delhi.

"Hopefully I can get back into form quickly, and reach the qualifying standard in February next year. That's the aim."

Stuff.co.nz

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:mellow: Two years on since 'old' Christchurch was destroyed...Considering the last year has been about heavy demolition and a scathing inquiry into the CTV building collapes...There is at least a sign of optimisim as Australasia's largest building site begins to gear up. There is still no Cathedral with the new 'temporary' building half way through construction - who wants to lay a bet it's still being used in 2040?

The RED Zone has been downsized to the square and the CBD renamed 'Reconstruction Zone' to give a positive spin to the area.

The thing I miss is the familliar sites now gone...Buildings that were there as everyday things are now empty spaces. Red Tape is now the only hold up to everything but special overrider laws do cut it away quickly.

The future does look positive with some amazing concepts on the horizon..the new city will be a Green city, but we got a loooong way to go. At least there is talk of a CWGs as a reward in the future. The ICC said they may have to by-pass the city for the 2015 CWC if Hagley Park isn't ready by next cricket season. :(

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