When New Zealander Zac Borrows heard an earthquake hit Christchurch, he figured it was no worse than the previous quake that struck five months ago.
He was wrong.
Search teams using dogs, heavy cranes and earthmovers worked through dawn in one of New Zealand’s largest cities, trying frantically to find survivors left by a powerful earthquake. But they are almost certain that the death toll will quickly rise, ranking the disaster among the island nation’s worst earthquakes in 80 years.
“The first report coming out said there were 17 dead, and I thought that was huge,” said Borrows.
For hours following the disaster, Borrows, who has lived in Calgary for five years, waited for word that his sister, her boyfriend and his two nieces were safe.
“I was just absolutely terrified,” he said, adding he was receiving updates from his father, who is a member of parliament in Wellington.
While the two young girls, aged 11 and 8, were temporarily unaccounted for, Borrows said all his family members are safe.
Borrows said his family is set to fly to Canada next week for his wedding, but he wishes he were the one flying across the ocean.
“These people are in good hands, but I would still like to be able to do something.”
With files from the canadian press