Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Aftershocks this morning have continued to rock Christchurch, as the city lies disrupted following Saturday morning’s earthquake.New Zealand’s second-largest city lies in tatters after the earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, forced authorities to impose a curfew on 372,600 residents of the city between 7pm last evening and 7am this morning, news.com.au reported.The aftershock, which measured a comparatively timid 3.8 on the Richter scale, came as tens of thousands of people tried to return to work this morning, but were actively discouraged by army and police.Dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake has been a nightmare for authorities, as people try to leave the city amidst a tangle of dislocated infrastructure. About 80 police officers from Auckland had been rushed to the south island to assist in law enforcement, as people demonstrate panic and frustration at petrol stations as they try to evacuate the city. Fears of looting, contaminated water, and power cuts hung over the city last night and into this morning, in the wake of what seemed to be a ghost town with little car or pedestrian traffic.”The scale of what has happened here is enormous,” Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said, before adding that it was miraculous that no-one had been killed in the natural disaster.The damage bill could be as high as NZ$2 billion (AU$1.6 billion), Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson said.Christchurch International Airport reopened at about 1.30pm on Saturday after hundreds of passengers were temporarily stranded by the airport closure, reported RadioNZ.There was superficial damage in both terminal buildings, including cracked walls, collapsed ceilings and broken glass, the airport’s chief executive, Jim Boult said.But the buildings are all structurally fine and 100 percent operational, he added.Christchurch, a tourist gateway for New Zealand, hosts tens of thousands of Australians each year.Some of Christchurch’s CBD hotels including Heritage, Millennium, Marque, Quest, Copthorne Central and Novotel are all up and running. The Copthorne Durham is speculated to be closed. Food deliveries are all normal and power has been returned to the CBD area since Saturday afternoon. A small section of the CBD area is cordoned off due to safety issues and to prevent sightseers from endangerment.
The Liberian Ambassador accredited to the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta, Ambassador Rudolf von Ballmoos has presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father, Pope Francis at the Vatican City and the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, His Eminence Fra’ Matthew Festing at the Magisterial Palace in Rome, Italy.A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in the United Kingdom says during separate statements at the two ceremonies, Ambassador Rudolf von Ballmoos extended special thanks on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta for the enormous support provided Liberia over the years in the areas of education, health and humanitarian services in support of government’s effort to eradicate poverty and consolidate the peace process.He made a specific request to the Holy See to support a regional education and awareness campaign with specific focus on religious tolerance, noting that “with the spread of different religious beliefs across the continent of Africa, it is prudent for people of different faith to coexist peacefully and tolerate one another”.On the Global scene, Ambassador von Ballmoos noted that “Liberia will continue to support dialogue and non-violence in the resolution of internal conflicts. He said, Liberia is pursuing a long-term national development agenda, The Liberia Rising Vision 2030, which aims to propel Liberia into a middle-income country capable of meeting and sustaining its own development aspirations by the year 2030.Towards, this end, we encourage Foreign Direct Investment in the vast resource based of the country, including the Agriculture and Mining sectors”. In response, the Holy Father, Pope Francis said” the proliferation of weapons of every type leads in the opposite direction of peace that we all speak about. The arms trade has the effect of complicating and distancing us from a solution to conflicts, all the more so since it takes place to a great extent outside the boundaries of the law.Therefore, I consider that, while we are gathered in this Apostolic See, which by nature is invested in a special service to the cause of peace, we can unite our voices in expressing hope that the international community may make new, concerted and courageous efforts against the proliferation of weapons and to promote their reduction”.The Holy Father mentioned that another challenge to peace, which “unfortunately takes on, in certain regions and in certain moments, the nature of a full-blown human tragedy”, is that of forced migration.He commented that it is a very complex phenomenon, and recognised that important efforts are being made by international organisations, States, and social bodies, as well as religious communities and volunteer groups, to respond “in a civil and organised way to the most critical aspects, emergencies, and situations of greatest need”.Pope Francis lamented that the global community cannot limit itself to reacting to emergencies, but rather the moment has arrived to face it with a serious and responsible political outlook, involving all levels: global, continental, macro-regional, in relations between nations, and finally at national and local levels”.Also speaking at a separate ceremony, His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing said beyond its humanitarian activities, the Sovereign Order of Malta is also committed both to building new bridges of understanding so as to foster dialogue and respect for cultural diversities and to promoting human dignity as the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups.”I am certain that the recent accreditation of the first permanent representative of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the African Union will enable an even more effective collaboration among the different countries for improvement in the living conditions of the populations of Africa.In addition to our engagement in Liberia, we have identified new projects relating to the training of dentists and doctors, as well as the fight against epidemics and renewed shipments of medicines and medical equipment for hospitals in Liberia” he concluded.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)