Well, it's been an eventful time of late and when I woke on Saturday morning to discover a serious earthquake had occurred in NZ, I was caught off guard, just like the many residents in the greater Canterbury region.
As I'm from NZ, a lot of local people here in Japan have been asking about the welfare of my family and friends. With the high frequency of earthquakes here and terrible destruction in Kobe still fresh in many people's minds, they can sympathize with what must be happening in NZ.
I too was somewhat concerned as I have a grandmother, aged 99, living in Christchurch and an uncle there as well, very close to where a lot of the reported damage occurred.
Thankfully both were physically OK. Just a little shaken. I haven't heard much from friends in the area, but I imagine they have their hands full coping with what has happened, especially to their houses and businesses.
I heard from my father yesterday who was down that way and was able to check firsthand which gave me some piece of mind.
Tons of buildings were damaged, many beyond repair including a raft of historical homesteads, churches and the main shopping center leaving a lot of people wondering how it all happened, as scientists revealed that the fault line that ruptured hadn't done so for 16,000 years!
Obviously there is still some fear that there are more to come and that this first one may trigger a series of violent earthquakes in the very near future.
This is an excerpt taken from one of the NZ news agencies;
Residents are being advised to continue boiling drinking water for three minutes and maintain personal hygiene to stop spread of water-borne diseases.
As the clean-up continues from Saturday's magnitude 7.1 quake, residents awoke shaken for a third day in a row.
The aftershocks included one with a magnitude of 5.2 shortly before 11.30pm last night which shook almost continuously for 15 minutes. There was another one of 5.4 soon after, and another of 5.4 around 3.30am today.
They left teetering buildings on the brink and locals on edge. For some it meant another night cleaning up.Apparently my grandmother and uncle were without electricity and telecommunications for quite some time and many water pipes throughout the city are damaged leaving residents without water completely or with contaminated drinking water which is beginning to cause health related problems of its own.
Christchurch was obviously not alone in suffering from this earthquake. It also affected areas surrounding the city, notably Kaiapoi, and around the Canterbury plains.
Spare a thought for those who have lost everything and send prayers for a safe and quick recovery.