On Tuesday this week a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch. There is a high death toll. Homes, offices and shops have been destroyed.
There have been many images and plenty of video footage posted of the devastation. But even in a city’s darkest days, there are moments that celebrate life.
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ICT community support
It appears from talking to IT companies in Christchurch, whose offices have been destroyed in the earthquake, that what they want most is work.
Edwin Dando, managing director of Clarus, which employs 12 staff and manages a pool of 60 IT contractors, says it is important that the city’s economy keeps going. “As with the last earthquake, the real problem will start in a few weeks time as people start to [try and] figure out how on earth they are going to pay staff. If we can continue, the money comes into the economy. People get paid and the spend money. The wheels of the machine start moving again.”
With that in mind NZ Rise, TUANZ, Internet NZ, NZ Computer Society and Crisis Camp NZ have set up a website business.eq.org.nz. It’s an online forum set up to coordinate help for Christchurch ICT businesses. Catalyst CEO Don Christie, whose team have built the site, says that for the city's economy to remain viable it is the medium to long term that matters, particularly for the smaller companies for whom cash flow is king. If you can help, or if you are a Christchurch business that needs help, go to business.eq.org.nz Incidentally the Catalyst team are also fielding all the SMS enquiries from people wanting help from the student volunteer army.
Also, at Computerworld under the banner ICT Christchurch Earthquake Support, there's an article with messages of support, and offers of help posted by CIOs, technology companies and interest groups.
Fry Up debate postponed
We were all set to go to Christchurch next week for the third Fry Up debate, which had the moot: “South Islanders will be the most innovative when it comes to fast fibre networks.” That’s been cancelled but the intention to host an event in Christchurch hasn’t changed.
We want to hold a debate in Christchurch because it has always been a city of tech innovation. A draft report from the Canterbury Development Corporation says that 16 of the top 100 technology companies are based there, and collectively they contribute $1.18 billion to the economy.
Long may that continue.
Christchurch people, our thoughts are with you.