Unpacking New Zealand’s Grim 6.3 Earthquake

New Zealand’s had a rough-as-guts time as of late. First, they were smashed by devastating flooding, described as the “biggest climate event” in the country’s history. Then, cyclone Gabrielle followed up by creating numerous floods plus a ton of damaging storms. On February 15, the country was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake

This New Zealand earthquake began at 4:38 PM AEST. It lasted for around 30 seconds. Moreover, this earthquake was felt on both major islands, including in the cities of Auckland and Christchurch.

“It was like a freight train hurtling past our house,” said David Haxton, who lives in Raumati Beach, north-west of Wellington. “My wife, our two kids, and I quickly gathered under a doorway and waited for the shaking to subside.”

Fortunately, no people have been reported to have been killed in this New Zealand earthquake. However, the authorities have stated that 11 people have in fact now been confirmed to have died at the hands of cyclone Gabrielle. And to make matters worse, 400 people are still uncontactable. 

Australia to Send Türkiye and Syria Earthquake Aid

Meanwhile, in Türkiye and Syria, the populations of these countries continue to struggle to get through the aftermath of their own earthquake disaster. 

On February 6, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit these countries’ infrastructure and landscapes. This caused a cataclysmic amount of damage. As of February 22, over 47,000 people in these regions have died. 

In response to this earthquake, Australia is providing Türkiye and Syria an extra $8 million worth of aid. This is on top of the first $10 million we pledged, bringing our total to $18 million. 

“We extend Australia’s deepest sympathies to families and communities that have lost loved ones in the earthquakes, including families here in Australia,” the government said in a statement on this matter. “The earthquakes have also exacerbated the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, where years of conflict have driven millions from their homes.”

“In addition to the earthquake response, the Australian Government will provide $15 million through trusted partners to assist conflict-affected Syrians and their host communities in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.”

Related: Earthquake in Türkiye — Here’s What You Can Do to Help

Related: What It’s Like to Be an Asylum Seeker or Refugee in Australia

How a Donkey is Helping West Wyalong Students

In NSW’s West Wyalong High School, a donkey named Bria is helping a bunch of kids get through the HSC and cope with last year’s damaging flood. This is because Bria is a perfect companion when things get a bit tough.

“Bria just calms you down and makes you forget about everything,” said Brianna Hanrahan, a student doing the HSC. 

“You will walk out, and she will do her little prance around the yard. You have to stop and smile at her.”

What’s more, Julie Maslin, an agricultural teacher who brought this donkey idea to life, believes that Bria’s having an A+ effect on the school. 

“We have had a tough 12 months with floods and hardship in the community,” said Maslin. “It is just nice to have students of all ages come out and have a bit of relief.”

“To come out and spend some time with the tactile feeling of brushing the donkey, running their hand through its hair, and being around Bria has been amazing.”

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