On Monday, New Zealand lowered its flags and made a special note of those who were unable to travel because it marked the 10th anniversary of the earthquake that killed 185 people in Christchurch.
In Christchurch, hundreds of individuals attended an outdoor service that continues to rebuild from the 6.3 magnitude quake that destroyed much of its downtown. In the northern Japanese city of Toyama, home to 12 students who died during the quake, a separate service was also held.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, speaking at the Christchurch ceremony, said it was important to remember that 87 of the victims were foreigners, and because of coronavirus travel restrictions, many of their families could not be there.
In particular, I wanted to mention all the Japanese family members I met in Japan last year and who wanted to be here that way,” she said.” “This tragedy connects us forever and we do not forget you even when we are apart. In spirit, you are with us.”
Another individual who spoke at the Christchurch service, killing 115 people, including his wife, Maysoon Abbas, was Maan Alkaisi, a university professor who spent years trying to get authorities to press criminal charges against those who designed the CTV building that collapsed during the earthquake.
After the quake, a review found the design of the building was faulty and it should never have been approved.
The memorial service was held on the banks of the Avon River, and at 12:51 p.m., the moment the quake hit in 2011, people observed a moment of silence. Emergency service staff and others took turns reading out the names of each of the victims.
Dalziel read a message from Bob Parker, who was the mayor at the time of the quake and became an internationally recognised face of the tragedy, at a touching moment. Parker suffered a stroke recently and attended the service in a wheelchair.
Ardern said the quake had affected people in many ways, and the recovery was made harder by daily reminders, including aftershocks and the fractured landscape.
Ten years later, people will still live their everyday lives with that day’s long shadow,” she said.”
In Toyama, during a ceremony at the Toyama College of Foreign Languages, more than 100 family members, friends and school officials observed a moment of silence for the student victims and offered flowers. Most of them, because of coronavirus measures, joined online.
Now, 10 years after that earthquake, there is again in our hearts the sadness of losing all of you and the indescribable regret,” Tamehisa Ueda, head of the school, said at the ceremony.”
At King’s Education, an English language school for international students, the 12 Japanese students were having lunch when the quake hit, destroying the building.
“While walking in the city, or wherever I go, I still look for her,” he said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato of Japan pledged the government’s continued support to the families of the victims.