A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s second largest city on Saturday, causing widespread terror and millions of dollars in damage, but few casualties. A similar quake that struck Haiti this year killed 230,000; so far there have been no deaths and just a few serious injuries reported in New Zealand. Aftershocks are causing further destruction and fear, and a curfew was imposed for Saturday night.
Is the low injury rate a miracle? It’s more a combination of luck and planning. The New Zealand quake struck in the middle of the night and the country is far less densely populated, so casualties were minimized. But the clincher is that New Zealand is a far wealthier nation, with strict building codes and good infrastructure. Once again we see how the poorest people of the world suffer the most in the face of both manmade and natural disasters.
This report shows the damage done to the town (forgive the dreadful opening ad):
Meanwhile in Haiti, the rebuilding efforts have been painfully slow, hampered by weak leadership, the overwhelming scale of the destruction, and the ineffective distribution of the aid that has been pledged, much of which has not yet been received.
Photo: Damage that could have been so much worse
Still from CBS video via Youtube