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Ranjani Ponnuchetty: Difficult day for Cantabrians


By Ranjani Ponnuchetty

Published: 11:32AM Friday February 22, 2013 Source: ONE News

For many outside Christchurch, today is just another day, the earthquake is once again taking over headlines and I'm sure some think the extensive coverage is unnecessary. But for many Cantabrians who've lived through the quake, today is an important day.

It's a huge milestone; a milestone that those who haven't felt the effects of the quake might not understand.

Two years on you've heard of all the insurance dramas, the rental crisis and so on. Today is a day to remember those who are still suffering from the effects of the quake, the families of those who've lost their lives and the people who've been injured.

Needless to say the quake has changed many people's lives.

As a young person who has mainly grown up in New Zealand, the earthquake has given me a practical example of the meaning of devastation and heart break.

Living through the earthquake completely changed my perspective on life; I appreciate the places I visit a lot more and it's made me realise that no matter who you are or what your do, everyone is vulnerable in one way or another.

Having only recently moved up to Auckland from Christchurch, just like most Aucklanders can't comprehend the fact that there is still no working CBD in Christchurch, I'm still finding it hard to get used to the fact that most people up here have never felt an earthquake in their life. And the fact people don't know who CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) is!

Prior to February 22, I closely followed the 2010 Haiti quake which killed more than 300, 000 people. I remember saying repeatedly, "that's heart breaking." But looking back I realise I was just throwing that word away without truly understanding the meaning of it.

Now when I hear of disasters or people losing their lives, I understand the implications of it. When one person dies, 10 others are affected by it. When a disaster strikes, the repercussions of it can last decades.

Simple things we take for granted like being able to go to the same school for your entire high school years; a lot of Christchurch students don't have that luxury with their schools closing or merging. Canterbury Uni students don't have the luxury of picking any course they'd like as a lot of Arts subjects have been cancelled.

So today, let's take a step back and although we might not understand what they're going through, spare a thought for those Cantabrians who need a day to remember and grieve. People are still so fragile.

On the surface it looks like most people have moved on, but as my friend rightly pointed out on her Facebook status this morning, "now my hands shake when I hear sirens, a scream, deafening silence, buses or trucks driving past and the list goes on".

And it's not just her, since the earthquake many Cantabrians are still carry the scars from the event, even when there are no physical scars to show.

* Ranjani Ponnuchetty is a student at New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch who is currently on an internship with onenews.co.nz in Auckland.