Ten years ago, on February 22, 2011, a powerful earthquake left the New Zealand city of Christchurch in ruins. It killed 185 people and injured and traumatized thousands of others. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led tributes at a 10th anniversary service at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial in Christchurch.
The disaster in Christchurch sent ripples of grief around the world. Many of those who died were New Zealanders, but 87 were from overseas and came from many countries, including Japan, China, Thailand and the Philippines.
The names of all 185 victims, including a 5-week-old baby girl, are inscribed at a memorial and were read at Monday’s anniversary service.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined a large crowd at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial in Christchurch.
“Today we remember the many people who died in the earthquake who were foreign nationals. The families of these may not have been able to be here today due to travel restrictions, but our flags fly at half-mast for them today, too,” Ardern said.
The earthquake in February 2011 struck at lunchtime in the late summer.
Two-thirds of the victims died in the Canterbury Television building. It was poorly built and no match for such a powerful tremor.
More than half of the buildings in Christchurch were damaged.
New Zealand sits on the unpredictable seismic Ring of Fire that stretches around the Pacific Ocean. The disaster in Christchurch was made worse by a big earthquake a few months earlier that had weakened many buildings.
Ten years later , the devastated community is slowly being rebuilt and reborn, becoming, Prime Minister Ardern said, one of New Zealand’s “best and brightest cities.”