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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog - A way I can help (Chaz Harris)

A way I can help

Last updated 08:08 23/02/2011
As I started to see images from yesterday's quake, a feeling of helplessness began to set in. I became tearful - I didn't know if my friends down in Christchurch were safe, some of them I didn't even have cell phone numbers for and their Facebook pages were eerily quiet.

I sat feeling like I just wanted to help in some way or be there as I knew there wouldn't be enough emergency workers on hand to help all the people injured and in need of aid. I'm not a doctor, though, nor have I had medical or disaster relief training, but sitting there at my desk I just felt like I was being so useless and survival instinct had set in and made me want to help.

On the news last night, they said that anyone else feeling like this could join the Facebook page UC Student Volunteer Army which in the next few days will be able to tell people what kind of help is needed. If you're able to go to Christchurch and help, it's worth joining that page. Another suggestion on the news was that if you know someone is safe in Christchurch and they have a Facebook page, write that on their Facebook page so that friends and family know they are okay. Google also set up a people finder service within a couple of hours of the event allowing people to log or register their status or if say they were looking for someone. The link to that can be found here.

It's been heartening to see images of people doing anything they can to help others. At one point, news footage of a group of doctors, over from Melbourne for a conference, had gathered enough supplies and were waiting to help in whatever way they could. It brought tears to my eyes.

Wellington airport's Facebook page was flooded with people offering places to stay to those stranded at Wellington airport and that brought with it a feeling of pride about the kindness of strangers in this country.

In the end, I decided the best thing I could do was to donate money to the Red Cross and just hope that the death toll does not rise too much. If you can afford to give anything, please give what you can to the Red Cross via the link here.

Over the coming days, my thoughts are with the people of Christchurch and I send you my love and hope all your friends and family are safe and sound. For what it's worth, if I could wrap a blanket around you and hug you all right now, I would. To the people of Christchurch, we are here, we are with you and we are waiting to help in whatever way each of us can. Kia Kaha xxx

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