Communities in Christchurch have rallied together in prayer hoping that survivors will be found six days after the devastating tremor hit New Zealand’s second largest city.
Church services in the city have been taking place in makeshift churches and Anglican Archbishop, David Boxon, who is there visiting his congregation told of the tragedy that struck the St. Mary’s church, which sits on the fringe of the city.
“I’m standing here outside the ruins of the Norman bell-tower of St. Mary’s Church, Merivale in Christchurch, a stricken city… a heartbroken city. Where over 300 people have died, 23 of them in the ruins of the cathedral tower itself. When I first arrived a sense of grief, numbness, shock, anxiety levels are high… that’s still the case but I’m noticing in more recent days a revival of courage, neighbourliness, mutual support, spontaneousness acts of kindness. It’s as is the city is trying to recover its spirit in the face of a devastating tragedy,” Boxon said.
In the central city, the painstaking search has concentrated on a finance company office block, the city’s landmark cathedral and a local television building, which housed an English language school.
Japanese, Chinese and English teams joined locals to pull apart the buildings, where floors pancaked on top of each other, brick by brick.
The latest official death toll from Tuesday’s quake now stands at146, with 200 still missing.
The dead include people from 20 nations, including dozens of students from Japan, China, and Taiwan who were in Christchurch, one of New Zealand’s most attractive cities, to learn English in view of the country’s dramatic southern Alps.