There has been a huge earthquake in the South Island but so far it seems there have been few serious injuries, if any. At 7.4 on the Richter Scale it's right up there and the centre is not far from our 3rd or 4th largest city. One son W. lives in the city and is out on call with road traffic control. The last news was no serious damage to their home which is an old timber structure. I haven't heard how his parents in law are. They live a short walk away from W & A. Our eldest son lives S. W. of the city on the coast and says the only apparent problem is no electricity. This means he has no drinking water.
So far there has been no news from the town of Darfield, closest to the epicentre.
I would imagine there will be huge disruption to life in the city with power water and sewerage problems. There will also be road closures until bridges can be declared safe.
This is not where we expect our major earthquakes to happen although the whole country is vulnerable.
About the News Media. Our daughter in-law sent us a text message about 6 am. I turned on Tv because our radio reception is poor. There was nothing until 7. am in spite of the Maori news programme running at the time. Our TV news system is pathetic.
I went on line and Christchurch Press had Breaking News. The best reports were from the Toronto Star and another international news service which I can no longer find.
I'm currently watching the Breaking News Report on TV 1 and it's pathetic considering it's been daylight for hours.
Fortunately it would appear that while there will be damage in every home from stuff falling from shelves and many buildings will not have survived, roofs and chimneys damaged the damage is still a lot less serious than it might have been.
I am wondering why there is nothing from Darfield, a small country town, 3 hours since the quake. I guess there is a lot more news on the radio.
It's unsettling to know that something big is going on but there's not a lot of news coming through.
We now have excellent media coverage except for the rural areas and Darfield, the small town most affected.
Parts of the city may have to be evacuated but most people will be safe. The greatest need for people will be water and toilets. Our son's in-laws are safe although their area was vulnerable.
New Zealanders are generally resilient and practical so the greatest concern is for the elderly and other vulnerable people. It's a nice fine day but will be a cold night for those with no power for heating. Already there is machinery out clearing fallen debris. There appears to have been no loss of life and few serious injuries. This earthquake appears to have been as strong as the one in Haiti but cannot be compared because we have a well set up emergency and civil defence system. The greatest damage will of course be economic. Our building code is also designed to cover earthquake and storm, especially wind, damage. I guess we'll get plenty of first hand news once our son finishes work with traffic control and has a rest. He will have a long day.