Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Zealand

New Zealand has always promoted itself as being a clean, tranquil and green place to live.
Like most countries there are pictures available of some gorgeous places to see, wide open spaces, lots of countryside and quant little towns in the middle of nowhere.
They have strict border controls over the intake of food and plants to stop any harmful pests arriving and destroying the flora and fauna that we have.
We currently have a population of 4.4 million people divided over the 2 islands that make up New Zealand.

if after seeing all these wonderful pictures you feel like shifting south, immigration assure me they will be able to cope with the sudden influx of calls!
 They have always been lead to believe that we are indestructable and very safe from anything down under in our little spot 1500 kilometres east of Australia.

Sadly, this year, this has not been so true. Whilst we may not get people bombing major cities or any other terrorist attacks we have been unlucky this year in our natural disasters.

At the end of last year and again in February of this year, Christchurch, in the South Island, has been hammered by earthquakes. They may have only had 2 major ones but the aftershocks that have been rumbling since February are enough to turn everyone into the mental ward.
People wonder why those living there don't just get up and move? But when everything you own is in your house, it is very difficult to just walk away knowing that you may never be able to sell your one major asset that can help you move forward in your life, you almost feel like you are having to start all over again but at the sametime questioning as to why you had house insurance in the first place?

The 2nd major disaster to hit our shores is just that, a major disaster that is damaging our shores at present on the beautiful east coast.
The disaster is the delightful strickened cargo ship "MV Rena".

On Oct 5 at 02.20am and with a speed of 17 knots (20 mph), the MV Rena ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef, near Tauranga. The ship was carrying 1,368 containers, eight of which contained hazardous materials, as well as 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 200 tonnes of marine diesel. Initially the ship listed 11 degrees to port, with the front stuck on the reef.

By Oct 9, a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) oil slick threatened wild life and the area's rich fishing waters. Oil from the Rena began washing ashore at Mt Maunganui beach on Oct 10. Unfortunately bad weather that night caused the ship to shift on the reef, and the crew were evacuated. The shifting of the ship caused a further damage, resulting in a further 130 - 350 tonnes of oil leaking.

On Oct 11, the spill was declared New Zealand's "worst ever environmental disaster".
Strong winds and bad weather on the night of Oct 11 caused the ship to list over to starboard, to 19 degrees, and resulted in between 30 and 70 containers being washed overboard.

All we can do is sit and watch as a cargo ship of this proportion crumbles in front of us. We are being hit with some typical spring weather at present. Not cold but not hot either but with what you guys would understand as 'April Showers'. This in turn is causing rough seas off the east coast and so is hampering any rescue missions they set out on. They are trying very hard to empty the fuel and oil tanks on the ship but getting it pumped off into other boats is difficult in rough seas.

The beaches being affected by this disaster are among some of the east coasts finest. They are the summer playground for a fair few people during the upcoming summer holidays due to start in 10-11 weeks.
Remember, Christmas falls in our summer here, so everyone migrates to the beach for this time of year.

The sand is soft and golden, the water cool and inviting and this is all being affected by an oil spill that will take a while to clear up.

The other people I feel sorry for, are the people who's belongings are in those containers. People who are shifting their entire house to a new start, about to loose everything into the sea off the east coast of New Zealand.
I read about a family, who use to live in Christchurch, but due to all the goings on there have upp'd and moved to Brisbane, Aus. They packed up their house, placed everything in a container and flew to Aussie knowing it would take a couple of weeks for their belongings (furniture, pictures, memories, past family momentos etc) to join them out there.
They didn't even know their stuff was in trouble as they didn't know it was on the MV Rena nor did they hear about it on the news as it is a disaster within NZ not AUS.
It was only when the company emailed them to inform them that they may have lost everything did they start to discover just where their belongs currently are.

For some people 2011 is just not going to be their year at all and I am sure they are welcoming the upcoming new year in 11 weeks

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