OCEANIA/NEW ZEALAND-The "Garden City" continues to shake: it increases misery, thousands of cases of post-traumatic stress

Monday, 20 June 2011

Christchurch (Fides Service) - "Small and large earthquakes, aftershocks as they are called, continue to hit Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. After the last devastating earthquake recorded last September, more than 7,000 aftershocks have continued to afflict the weary citizens of Christchurch ": Father Paul G. Shannahan, sm, National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies in New Zealand tells Fides. "Last Monday several earthquakes of 6.3 and 5.3 on the Richter scale hit the central business district and the eastern part of the city, producing new water leaks and smelly mud. Every day thousands of tons are eliminated. More than 55 new sources have exploded - the priest continues -. Many damaged buildings have been destroyed and some will be demolished. Almost the majority of buildings in brick and stone, as the historic Anglican cathedral, were damaged beyond repair, as well as the century-old Catholic Cathedral. Not only many of the city's historic buildings went missing, but the roads continue to crumble and flood with sewage, so drinking water supplies have been interrupted once again. The continuing earthquakes are causing the loss of many jobs", adds Father Shannahan.
"Even more worrying is the fact that doctors are finding thousands of people in post-traumatic stress symptoms, particularly those whose homes have been seriously damaged: I am really tired of everything and having to wait for the indecision of the government and insurance agencies that should provide for the payment of the renovation work and determine the safest areas where they can rebuild. Three other aftershocks of 4.4 hit the town on Friday, June 17. Christchurch is known as the most English of cities and is called the 'Garden City', but misery continues to increase for the majority of the population and the cost of living increases". Father Shannahan concluded by inviting everyone to pray for these people so severely put to the test. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/06/2011)