Kiwis hoping to help after quake
PAT Robson's heart breaks as he watches the suffering in his home town of Christchurch.
The city has crumbled after the disastrous 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit on Tuesday and at least 75 people were confirmed dead yesterday afternoon.
Thankfully, Mr Robson's daughter, grandchildren, sister, father-in-law and friends are all safe, but the 70-year-old earned a New Zealand Order of Merit for his work in the community in the Canterbury region and every fibre of his being wants to be there helping.
"I feel really badly and am hor
rified at the situation. I am in Australia, unfortunately, but I want to do something, in some way to help," the Murwillumbah resident said.
"I was given the NZ Order of Merit for my service to the community and feel like I should be there."
Mr Robson wants to encourage the Tweed to get behind any fundraising efforts which are set up in the aftermath of the quake, and wants Tweed Shire Council to run a similar fundraiser to the one it organised for the Queensland flood appeal.
It was his youngest daughter who called him on Tuesday and said to turn the television on.
"I watched yesterday (Tuesday), and couldn't believe it. I just felt shocked," he said.
"We were watching it with tears in our eyes."
Seeing the spire of Christchurch's iconic cathedral topple was a terrible moment for Mr Robson and his family.
"It just felt heart wrenching to see it go and no one knew how many people were inside it. I just can't imagine what it would have been like for the people up there when the whole lot came down."
Mr Robson and his family were in Christchurch at Christmas and saw the devastation caused by the earthquake that hit the same region in September.
He experienced one of the many aftershocks of that quake on Boxing Day while he was standing in the Christchurch airport.
That was scary enough.
"I shudder to think what it is like there now."
The earthquakes are unpredictable, and no one knows when they will hit. Mr Robson said the seemingly relentless aftershocks were wearing at the nerves of even the toughest Kiwis.
"You get some warning with floods and fires, but you get nothing at all with earthquakes and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it; when it hits, it hits," he said.
"People are obviously quite stressed out with it all, even the ones who are fairly sturdy ... my friends are stoic and tough, but even they are twitchy."
Mr Robson, his wife Glenys and daughter Melanie moved to Murwillumbah about seven years ago.
He loves it in Australia, but said he would consider himself a New Zealander until the day he died.