Saturday, February 26, 2011

Authors to the Aid of Christchurch

Even with photographic evidence aplenty, it’s hard to conceive of the damage done to Christchurch, New Zealand, by the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck there this last Tuesday, killing many residents and destroying landmarks. New Zealand blogger Craig Sisterson, sent me a note with information about the conditions in Christchurch. His note begins:
Kia ora from shaky New Zealand,

As many of you will know, on Tuesday at 12:51 p.m. NZT the city of Christchurch, which suffered a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September last year, was struck by another massive earthquake--this time much shallower and more violent. This earthquake is completely different to last year’s one, which caused massive property and infrastructure damage, but we were blessed with no loss of life. As of this morning NZT, more than 100 are dead, and another 220+ missing, and hundreds badly injured. There have been no signs of life from under any rubble for more than 36 hours, which is heartbreaking for the more than 1,000 rescuers, from several countries, who are working their way through what is a pretty dangerous environment.

I now live in Auckland, but I went to University in Christchurch, so have many, many friends living in what is/was a wonderful city. Those I have talked to/e-mailed/texted/FB-ed are safe but badly shaken, but there are several I’ve not yet heard about.

As the days go on the people of Christchurch will need a lot of help. There will be months, even years, of rebuilding, and as of today more than half the city is still without power/water. Organisations like the Red Cross and many others are doing some fantastic work, supported by caring people from all over New Zealand, and all around the world.
Sisterson then gives info on how all of us might aid recovery efforts:
California mystery writer and professor Margot Kinberg is setting up a charity raffle--“Do the Write Thing”--of signed mystery novels, to raise funds. Several authors have already donated signed copies of their books, and she is looking for more, so she can create the biggest/best raffle possible. People will enter the raffle by donating to the Red Cross. If you are a mystery author willing to help out, please contact Margot at

You can read more about Do the Write Thing here.

I have also placed on my Web site information about various ways to donate/get involved here.

I know we are all busy with many things in our lives, but I would urge you all to consider helping in any way you can, and feel comfortable doing. The crime- and mystery-writing community--writers, readers, and reviewers, etc.--is a very connected one, with a great sense of community and camaraderie. Christchurch was the home of NZ’s most well-known mystery novelist, Dame Ngaio Marsh, and the current home of several NZ crime writers (the three I have contacted, including Paul Cleave, who some of you met at Harrogate, are all safe, but badly shaken). It would be terrific if we could all pull together and help them out.


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