They had an earthquake last September, and were thankful that damage was slight.
But now, after the 6.5 quake that struck the South Island of New Zealand just before 1 pm local time on Tuesday, February 22, it’s a different story.
Hundreds Remain Missing
Officials there say that hundreds of victims of the earthquake remain missing. In Christchurch, rescue workers are sifting through rubble and buildings damaged in the earthquake that struck on Tuesday afternoon.
From The Guardian:
Prime Minister John Key says that the death toll now stands at 75, but that the figure is likely to rise. Officials are being quoted as saying that some 300 people remain missing. Foreign rescue workers are joining the search, now in its second night.
The timing of the mid-day quake meant that many workers were trapped in office buildings. An AP reports cites rescue workers who found that in some cases, concrete floors had simply collapsed upon one another.
But relief workers found a woman alive early Wednesday, in the four-story Pyne Gould Guinness office building — after she had called reporters Tuesday night to tell them that she was alive and trapped in the building. Ann Voss suffered several cuts and broken ribs, but is expected to recover.
While she was trapped, Voss, who is Australian, spoke on the phone several times with her son and family members.
Here’s more from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Ms Voss said she had plenty of time trapped under four storeys of rubble to reassess her priorities in life.
“Like not worrying about stupid things like: `Oh my God, where’s my bag?’,” she said.
“What does that matter? They are things you can replace later. You can’t replace people.”
Ms Voss says she believes her desk saved her.
Her son was happy that it had.
“She’s a very good mum,” he said.
The Sun Came Out!
There was some initial confusion about Voss’s rescue, because two women, both named Ann, were found alive in the Pyne Gould Guinness building Wednesday.
The other was Ann Bodkin, about whose rescue Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said, “The sun came out the moment she was removed from the building. It was like God turned on the lights.”
A light shining in a very dark tunnel.
Maybe we can all use such events to focus on what is important in our lives – not our bags!
To see what’s going on in New Zealand, check out this video:
Photo credit: kiwinz via Creative Commons