Kia Kaha Christchurch
People from out of town are probably wondering why anyone is still living in Christchurch at all!
Christchurch hasn’t had it easy over the last six years, and you may be forgiven for wondering that yourself. Here's what we know.
Christchurch is Stronger Together
Right now, it’s the higher ground taking a buffering. Two fires, we’re not yet sure how they started, merged into one on Christchurch’s Port Hills and have wreaked devastation. Homes have been destroyed and families displaced, while no strong rains are forecast and the fires continue to move rapidly and change direction with the winds.
Adding to the sense of crisis, one of Canterbury’s best and bravest, Corporal David Askin, a former SAS soldier and recipient of the New Zealand Gallantry Star tragically lost his life. The helicopter he was piloting crashed as he was assisting the fire fighting efforts.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mr Askin is a New Zealand hero. After retiring from the SAS, he stayed in the reserves and regularly returned to share his experiences with the next generation. When the fire alarm was raised on Monday night, he was one of the first to respond. What a legend. Our deepest sympathies go to Mr Askin’s family, friends and colleagues.
Our hats are off to everyone involved in this enormous effort. Our police officers, fire fighters, the New Zealand Defence Force and civilian contractors like Mr Askin. We can not thank you enough for putting your lives on the line and serving our city.
In such a fast moving environment, most of us were glued to radios, TVs, our phones, or anywhere providing news about what was happening. Anyone listening to Radio New Zealand around 5:30pm on Wednesday would have heard John Campbell say; “There is so much breaking news, we will update you immediately as we have new information about evacuations or anything happening in Christchurch. We are not leaving Christchurch.”
Come on Christchurch. We have been in situations like this before, and we know what to do. In the aftermath of February 2011 we rallied together. We opened up our homes to our neighbours, made cups of tea, donated to food banks, kept an eye on one another, and showed New Zealand what we can do when communities pull together. It’s time for us to take action again.
Be vigilant, be safe. Stay away from the affected areas and leave the professionals free to do their jobs. Whether you’re on the edge of the evacuation zones, or the opposite side of town, people are scared so take the opportunity to check on those around you.
Even though this terrible situation is far from over, Kia Kaha Christchurch. We’ve got this.