The death toll is continuing to rise from last weeks devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The official number is over 100 confirmed dead, with more than 200 people still missing.
Joyce Austin, our New Zealand wine woman on the ground, has been keeping us informed of the latest and the pictures on the news don’t even seem to do the situation justice any more. It’s a real tragedy words can’t sum up.
The quake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, but being only 3 miles from the surface, the densely populated Christchurch was hard hit. Fortunately for the greater wine producing area of Canterbury, the epicentre was to the east of the city, so most wineries avoided damage of any real note.
“The whole place was swaying but we are fine, we have have been spared this time. We had much more damage last time as we were far closer to the epicentre.” Celia Bosman of Sandihurst winery, Decanter.com
One of our Waipara wineries, Muddy Water, is run by Jane East. She said the staff at the vineyard were all alive and well, but her mother and aunt can no longer live in their homes. Her property in Christchurch sustained heavy damage but she was only glad everyone was safe. Muddy Water and Waipara Springs are within a 50 minute drive of Christchurch, so Jane is not the only one to have been affected like this as many workers in the region live in Christchurch and commute.
Life for thousands of people will never be the same again. Being there myself a few years ago (that’s my picture above – check out the pictures in bbc.co.uk) it really is an amazing city, I can only hope that the typical Kiwi resolve, strength and perseverance will see them through.
I was there in 2003, lovely place. Sympathies to everyone there and good luck with the rebuilding of lives, housing and infrastructure in the years to come.
And Julian’s just informed me there’s been a small earthquake in Wellington. Their not having much luck. Hopefully nothing like Christchurch.