First Person: A Friend Survives the New Zealand Earthquake

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Christchurch New Zealand
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Christchurch New Zealand

Waking up to news of the New Zealand earthquake, my thoughts immediately jumped to my friend Aiden, who currently lives in New Zealand. Christchurch was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake, which devastated the city. The death toll from the earthquake is currently 75 but is expected to continue rising.

I met Aiden in college, while we were both enrolled in a statistics class. Aiden's parents had migrated to the U.S. from New Zealand when he was an infant. The family kept close contact with their relatives in New Zealand, and Aiden often mentioned how much he enjoyed being there on vacations.

It wasn't much of a surprise when Aiden announced his desire to move to New Zealand after college. His father had helped him secure a job there, and he planned to move to New Zealand a few months after graduation.

Hearing news there had been such a large earthquake in New Zealand, I was particularly concerned when I heard the name of the city that was most affected. I knew the name of the city Aiden moved to sounded like Christchurch but wasn't really sure of the name.

I tried contacting my friend but was unable to get him on the phone. When I sat down to watch the news, I became even more concerned for Aiden. I tried calling him again and was still unable to get a hold of him. It was then I decided to check his social media page and noticed he had placed an update to his status.

In his update, Aiden informed his family and friends he was OK. It turns out he doesn't live in Christchurch but rather Queenstown. The earthquake made it as far out as Queenstown but didn't do any significant damage. Aiden claimed the vibrations caused by the earthquake scared him at first, until he realized what it was. Having spent a majority of his life in Texas, an earthquake was the last thing Aiden had on his mind.

Looking at the devastation that took place in Christchurch after the earthquake, I find myself thankful the worst weather conditions we have to worry about in Texas is the occasional tornado or hurricane. Seeing an entire city reduced to rubble is always unpleasant, and I can only hope the international community steps up and aids New Zealand as they have done for other countries in the past.

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