Early reports from Christchurch say community is fine

September 4, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Dunedin-based Rabbi Shmuly Kopel has been in touch with his Chabad counterpart in the earthquake hit New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Rabbi Kopel told J-Wire: “We are 350 kms from Christchurch but the effect of the earthquake was enough to wake me and my family at 4:45 a.m. We felt the vibration and the rumbnling. A neighbour told us about the damage in Christchurch but also said that it appeared no-one was seriously so hurt so I delayed calling Rabbi Mendel Goldstein until after Shabbas.”

He added: “Rabbi Goldstein reported that all was well but that communications are difficult. There are no planes flying tonight but I am booked on one tomorrow and hope to be able to get to Christchurch to help in whatever way I can.”

The city centre has suffered serious damage as a result of the earthquake which registered 7.4 on the Richter scale.

Prime Minister John Key

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was born in Christchurch. Geoff Levy, Chairman of the New Zealand Jewish Council, told J-Wire: “His sister plays a prominent part in the running of the Jewish community in the city and Prime Minister Key told media that she had been keeping him informed of the developments ahead of his own staff.” New Zealand’s Jewish Prime Minister flew to the stricken city today.

Levy added: “Many of the buildings in the CBD are brick constructions and went up long before we knew about designing new developments to counterasct the effects of earthquakes.”

Communications will remain difficult until power is returned to the city. Levy said: “It’s amazing no-one was killed and the two who were seriously hurt are expected to make a full recovery. One good thing, however, we will not be calling on aid from the rest of the world”

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