The recent earthquake that struck Christchurch brought back the memory of the same disaster that killed almost 200 people in 2011.
It was shocking. And sad.
I was in Dunedin when the first big quake hit Christchurch in 2010. It was around 4am in the morning. I was still sleeping on my bed in my cozy sunroom when I was woken up by a sudden shake.
It was just the tremor that I felt. Those who actually experienced it must be really scared. I could still recall the trauma my friend (who was living in Christchurch at that time) had, who would jump in fear at the sound of the train passing by.
A year after that, another massive quake hit the same city. Though the magnitude was less that the previous year, the impact was multiple times worse.
Once again the tremor traveled down to Dunedin. This time, I was in my lab on the second floor. The building was swaying. My friends and I knew straight away that an earthquake had hit somewhere in the South Island.
We just casually talked about it. Even laughed. Another tremor was felt. Once again we weren’t really concerned. Earthquakes were pretty normal in New Zealand.
But the news that came right after that was hard to swallow. Lots of casualties and injuries. Buildings were destroyed. The danger was real. We weren’t able to laugh anymore.
I had a chance to visit Christchurch a few months after the disaster struck. It wasn’t even a pleasant view to see the ruins or the abandoned shops. Like I was in a ghost city.
New Zealand, a country that I hold dearly in my heart.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.