Christchurch in Southern New Zealand was rattled by a deadly earthquake overnight that measured 6.3 in the Richter scale.
At least 65 people have died in the quake that occurred around 1 p.m. local time, according to authorities. The mayor of New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch, declared a state of emergency and said it ”may well be New Zealand’s darkest day.” Rescue crews are mobilizing to assist in what will be a massive rescue and rebuilding effort, but immediate concerns are getting the phone lines back up and airports open.
We all know such disasters are nightmares in terms of trying to get information on loved ones. Google has stepped in to help out in this area. Google’s Person Finder allows people to upload or request information on others in earthquake-hit areas. Google offered a similar service for earthquake victims in Chile and Haiti. Google also set up a crisis response page with important phone numbers and other resources. People are using Twitter to send messages of support; Justin Bieber Tweeted his love, saying: “just ending the night. my prayers go out tonight to the people of New Zealand. god bless.” Facebook is also serving as a way for people to express their prayers and encouragement, and offer help, to those affected.
“If you know a person in Christchurch is safe but they don’t have internet access, post a message about their safety on their Facebook wall so their friends and family elsewhere will know,” one post says.
“My family understands that many are homeless and in evacuation centres, and are inviting a small family to share our home on the Gold Coast, Queensland,” says another post.
While technology is helping people connect with loved ones, there is a painful aftermath to such a tragedy. genConnect bereavement counselor Allison Daily says grief can look like many things, and suggests people grieve the way that is most comfortable to them. She says:
“My personal belief is that there are no rules to grief and there is no road map. We may start at ‘point A’ with the loss, the shock, the denial– but where that grief goes and how many directions it takes is an enigma. It depends on who we are, how close we were to the one we lost, how deeply we allow ourselves to feel…and on and on. I also believe that where we end, if there is such a thing as an ending to grief, is a personal decision.
…If you are grieving someone, my encouragement to you would be to give yourself the freedom and the grace to be exactly where you are. Don’t rush through grief as I did in the beginning. Realize that you have lost someone you love deeply and miss terribly. If you need help, get it. The rest of the world moves on and at times that feels unfair.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of New Zealand during this tragedy.
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