adj. numb·er, numb·est
1. Deprived of the power to feel or move normally; benumbed: toes numb with cold; too numb with fear to cry out.
2. Emotionally unresponsive; indifferent: numb to yet another appeal.
I don't know about you but I am still reeling after hearing about the Christchurch NZ earthquake last Tuesday... Up until this morning I was numb. Don't get me wrong - I hurt a lot! But I was "emotionally unresponsive" and a tear had not shed from my eyes...
I'm very seldom a TV watcher - I especially rarely get to watch the news, because I'm usually in the midst of cooking, feeding, bathing & putting to bed my children. I also just don't like to! However I have not been able to tear myself away from it this week. For at least the first few days I just sat there numbly in silence for hours, watching is disbelief (along with much of the world I'm sure) as the true extent of the devastation in Christchurch is revealed and a city centre lies in a ruin resembling a war zone...
It is so unreal for me to see streets that I have visited, walked & driven look so destroyed!! Whole hill faces that I have seen and driven up, just disintegrated in a heap of rock on the ground, with houses teetering on the top.
This morning, 6 days after the earthquake, the death count sits at 147. However over 200 people are still listed as missing in the areas affected. over 200!! - so the death toll is expected to rise considerably. That is HUGE.
NZ is not a big place!! They say in the world there are 6 degrees of separation - I think there must be like 2 or 3 in NZ.
Then this morning I went to church and finally on came the inevitable - I shed some tears. Church has that knack for me of making me blubber. Our Pastor spoke about the earthquake shortly after the worship had finished, and prayed for all of the people affected - then came the part that broke me... our Pastor's son-in-law, also another ex-pat Kiwi, said a long prayer for Christchurch in Maori. To hear the NZ Maori language spoken in the middle of an Australian church was so surreal. It made my heart finally accept what my head had been seeing, and it made me weep for my country.
In Australia & New Zealand we live lives of abundance. Our countries are rich. I mean that in many senses. We sometimes moan a lot, but really we have great infrastructure, awesome employment oppotunities, a generous welfare system and we do not often want for much!!
Yet 2011 has already created havoc - the shell of our comfortable lives has been broken by not just one, but large numbers of natural disasters all in quick succession.
As a result of the Christchurch earthquake, still over 30,000 customers still remain without power. 55,000 homes remain without water and 75,000 are without sewerage.
This is 2011 and these are all basic amenities that we completely take for granted in our everyday lives!!
Growing up my parents took the risk of earthquakes very seriously... I was not allowed my bed/shelves/furniture in certain places because of the risk of earthquakes. It used to annoy me greatly at times, this what I considered as a child, to be an overreaction.
We used to have earthquake lessons, and practise drills at school in class. Even as a small child I can remember having to jump under my desk - head down, bottom up, with our hands clasped over the backs of our heads and our bottoms facing the windows. Funny what you remember!
I grew up in Wellington - said to be the next city to experience the "big one" (I guess those predictions were wrong!) - so my parents had a very comprehensive emergency kit. We had a HUGE crate full of canned & other emergency food. Bottles after bottles of water (probably about 150L or more), torches, radios, batteries etc... etc...
I even studied Geography all through school and into University. I learnt all about the plates, the faults, earthquakes, how our NZ buildings/bridges/roads were built as best they could to withstand the effects of "the big one". But in spite of all this knowledge... these facts... the frequent small, but regular, earthquakes I felt growing up...
I never for one minute thought that it would happen in reality - that it would happen in my lifetime!
But it did!
And it has resulted in the biggest natural disaster in New Zealand's history!
This has had me thinking all week...
How would we cope if there was a natural disaster here tomorrow? I don't mean that I've gone into panic mode or anything - I just mean - how is my family set up to cope if we were put in the unfortunate situation that we had to...?!
The answer is we're not. Quite simple.
The risk of earthquakes here in Australia is not that large. But as the recent floods & cyclones in our Eastern States have shown us - the risk of natural disasters is still very real.
It used to make me shake my head at my parents sometimes - their preparedness. The bottles of water in the hallway seemed a little excessive - and "clutter". This is not news to them - they know me & how much I dislike "clutter"... But you know what - they were right. Did you read that Mum and Dad - you were right!
Now I'm the adult - I'm the parent. And you know what? I'm letting my children down because I have been apathetic to the risks and I am not prepared. As well as feeling unnecessary, lets face it - it also is expensive and seems wasteful to have a whole lot of food & water lying about "just in case".
But this week it is my challenge to change that mindset - because it is important to be prepared.
I think I might make it my Project 52 - emergency kit here I come...
How are you prepared? I know that the NZ government put out a list of suggested items that I can use as a template, but I'd love to know any extra thoughts you have!
If you are interested in donating money to the Christchurch relief fund then the NZ Prime Minister has now set up a special fund if you are able to donate. Christchurch will need all the help that they can get.
I am also planning some other ways that I/we can be better prepared - so watch this space...
** Images from www.3news.co.nz