My nephew as I said before lives in Christchurch - here are parts of his latest comments to the family:
Hi all, thanks for the comments and your thoughts. I was working in Napier at the time the quake struck, due to fly to Chch about an hour after it hit. My first indication was our radar centre, based in Chch, advised they were evacuating. I had to wait about 15 mins to be relieved before I could try calling Heather. Fortunately I got thru first time as she was racing home from her work (by the airport) to check on the house. Heather sheltered under her desk in her office. The dogs were ok but the chimneys collapsed and most things in the house had fallen over. The pantry had emptied itself out onto the kitchen floor, somethings breaking, others not. My flight from Napier was canceled and I was re-booked to fly in on Weds morning. Heather stayed with Sandy on Tuesday night but as you can imagine, pretty much got no sleep due aftershocks. Leila (the small dog) is pretty stressed and constantly wants to be picked up. Bowie is slowly starting to relax a bit. Weds was spent cleaning up. .... Mark and I called up to C....'s house to help secure it. C.... is in Fiji and his house is pretty badly damaged. We piled up huge Omaru Stone blocks that have been flung from the walls (not a single block is left in place. We managed to secure some and put up some tarpaulins. In terms of people badly affected, as expected, we know a few. We have not heard of any witnesses that have died or been badly injured but obviously its too early to know for sure. One Air Traffic Controller, Jill Murphy, from CH tower has been confirmed as dead. Paul Dunlop is an Optometrist that Heather had dealings with died in his store in New Regent St and we have just found out about Matti Makeeken, a guy who was killed in a tattoo parlour that I used to have dealings with when we had the cafe. He worked for Underground Coffee Company a while back. Its so tragic and quite overwhelming. We are just taking each day as it comes and may leave for a few days, not sure yet. Will keep you all posted in the coming days.
So far confirmed dead are 103 with 228 still missing - as time goes by hope fades for these poor people - I can't imagine what all their families are going through. Thankfully Jehovah will remember those that have lost their lives in the resurrection, what a blessing to have that great hope.
AND NOW A FURTHER UPDATE
Apparently the congregations in NZ got given this news at their meetings to say that a disaster relief team was made up immediately consisting of travelling oversers and local congregation elders.
Within 24hours of the quake, everyone in the ChCh congs had been accounted for with no serious injuries or fatalities.
3 of the local kingdom halls cannot be used at the moment but efforts are being made to syncronize meetings around the city.
Right now the focus is on caring for them emotionally and spiritually the letter said.
I think it is really great that Jehovah's organization has the provision of the elders ready for disaster relief. How safe and looked after we all are.