Fear for loved ones in quake

WHILE many Gladstone residents were left in a state of shock on Tuesday after hearing about the Christchurch Earthquakes, others were near panic as they scrambled to find out about relatives and loved ones in the devastated city.

Tannum Sands resident Nita Sting was shocked to hear the news and immediately tried to contact a close friend who was visiting family in Christchurch.

"One of my very close friends recently went to Christchurch to visit his family and, just days after arriving, he was struck by the earthquakes," she said.

"I feel a little guilty as I urged him to go to see his father, who is recovering from a serious operation.

"I pushed him to get on the plane and visit his family, who are now stuck completely in the centre of Christchurch with nowhere to go."

Ms Sting said she learnt of the disaster over Facebook and was drawn to news on the internet and television.

Her close friend, David Hammond, is a born and bred Christchurch native and has only recently moved away from his family to live in Australia's Sunshine State.

"It was several hours before I had even made contact with him," Ms Sting said.

"I tried phoning and texting for hours, but it just kept saying he was unavailable.

"I was very worried at first and it was such a relief when I finally made contact and learnt of his and his family's safety."

Ms Sting was told there were several aftershocks and that roads had been cut in every direction.

"He told me the shakes were so surreal - like something out of a cartoon," she said.

"He said the house was shaking and moving, power went out and the roads were destroyed.

"He was with his parents during the disaster, but is unable to get back to his sister's (home), where he has been staying.

"He was expected to come home Friday, but after what has happened, nothing is certain."

Ms Sting said she had been able to use Facebook to communicate with Mr Hammond and knows others who had family in Christchurch.

"For the most part, everyone I have talked to has been pretty quiet about the subject, but I do know of others who will be thinking of family during this hard time," she said.

Christchurch Earthquake Disaster

Christchurch struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake

Earthquake hit at 12.51pm local time on February 22

Death toll stands at 75 as of 3pm yesterday

One Australian resident has been confirmed dead

A large number of buildings have been destroyed

Concerned Australians can call 1300 555 135

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