While the New Zealand cricket team rattled the Kenyan batting line up on Sunday to win their opening match of the ongoing World Cup, a devastating earthquake rattled the Kiwi city of Christchurch two days later. The 6.3 quake which struck at 12:51 pm on Tuesday is believed to have damaged close to 120,000 homes in and around the city, not to mention hotels, office buildings and the like.
As rescue teams survey the damage and sift through the rubble, the death toll has crept up to nearly 100 with hospitals and medical centres inundated with casualties. Health authorities say that as of Thursday morning, 431 people are being treated at the emergency departments and around 2,000 have been seen with more minor injuries across the city.
Damage to physical infrastructure too has been extensive. Eighty per cent of Christchurch is not connected to the main water supply, 60 per cent had no power, and other infrastructure such as sewerage systems and gas supplies remained severely disrupted.
The New Zealand cricket team meanwhile, wants to do their part and hopefully win the World Cup in order to lift the moral and the spirits of the beleaguered city of Christchurch. Having already one resounding victory under their belt in the tournament, they are up against Australia in their first big match of the Cup on Friday. Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori says he would like to bring comfort to his compatriots back home by winning that match.
"The greatest thing we can do is beat Australia to hopefully help bring a little relief for the people who are going such a rough time at home," the Courier Mail quoted Vettori, as saying. It's been a tough day. Five or six of the team and the management crew are based in Christchurch, so it''s been a rough time for them finding out that their families are safe," he added.
The New Zealand team has been regularly using Twitter throughout the day in search of information and to offer condolences.
"Everyone's families are fine, but quite a numb and flat feeling in the squad," veteran player Scott Styris wrote. "Training was tough."
Opening batsman Martin Guptill said the squad''s thoughts were with their compatriots."Thoughts go out to the people of Chch today. Terrible thing to have happened again," Guptill tweeted.
International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat said that an appropriate gesture of respect would be made when New Zealand face Australia.