It only happens once every few months. It always takes a moment to settle in- to really soak into your mind. But when it does, it sends chills right through you.
I’m talking about that moment when turn on the radio, the news or log into the BBC website and there’s a story that automatically grabs your attention- a story that you know is so much worse than any you have heard in a while.
It sounds like I am being really dramatic here, and maybe I am, but this definitely happened me today when I saw the headlines about the earthquake in New Zealand this morning. So yeah, you can see that this is going to be a bit of a serious blog today I’m afraid.
It was the figures of the 65 dead, the 300 suspected dead and the 6.3 magnitude that gripped me, and with friends in New Zealand at the moment it’s needless to say it sent chills of fear straight through me.
Looking at the pictures of huge buildings which are just completely destroyed- with roofs caved in and one storey collapsed on top of the other- it all seemed so massive. And the pictures of normal, everyday people being physically pulled from the wreckage, or crying at the side of the road made it all seem so scarily real and ultimately horrific.
It got me thinking, how could we ever cope with something like that here in Britain? While other people’s hometowns are being completely destroyed by earthquakes, the worst we have had to deal with in the past while has been a mere foot of snow at Christmas.
I think because of that we can’t fully understand how awful it would be to be caught up in something like that. We hear the words ‘natural disaster’ all too much that we probably get to a stage where we fully can’t grasp the actual ‘disaster’ behind it. We can’t imagine the carnage and destruction an earthquake, a forest fire or a tsunami would cause because most of us haven’t lived anything like that. All we can do is watch from our TV screens, maybe shake our head and add a “that’s just awful”- but never fully understand the trauma.
So, I’ll keep this short, because I know it isn’t the most optimistic of things to read. As clichéd as it sounds, I just wanted to think about how fortunate we are here sometimes.
And I wanted think of all the people in Christchurch who have got caught up in this and somehow say that I don’t fully understand the meaning of the word disaster, but I am sorry that you now do.