[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Two people have been killed and many more injured following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the New Zealand town of Kaikoura this week. There have been almost 2,000 after-shocks since the main quake, which struck at two minutes past midnight on Monday (14 November) NZDT (11.02am, Sunday 13 November, GMT). A number of church buildings have been affected. And an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 landslides since Monday is combining with heavy rain to worsen the effects of the initial quake.
The Anglican Taonga website reports that the church bell tower at Waiau, in the diocese of Christchurch, has sheared off from the body of the church. And in Wellington, St Paul’s cathedral was evacuated over fears that a nearby building may collapse. The cathedral itself survived intact; but its pipe organ has been severely damaged with pipework thrown over the choir area.
The diocese of Nelson has not been able to make contact with anybody in the parish of Kaikoura – which bore the brunt of the quake. Phone lines to the region are down and road access destroyed.
The New Zealand Navy and Air Force have evacuated hundreds of people from the town using helicopters and the warship HMNZS Canterbury. Naval warships from Australia, the US and Canada, heading to New Zealand to take part in celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the New Zealand Navy, have diverted to Kaikoura to deliver aid and assistance to the remaining population.
“It is wonderful to hear from you and to know our friends are with us,” Canon Robert Kereopa, the chief executive of Anglican Missions in New Zealand said in a conversation with the Anglican Alliance. “Thankfully reports thus far from Christchurch, Nelson, and Wellington dioceses all say everyone is OK.
“We are in good heart, and poised to give support where it is needed, but it will take some time to assess the damage, which is substantial.”
The Anglican Alliance is calling on people to pray for the people of New Zealand.