In the News:
ISKCON Temple Heavily Damaged in Christchurch Quake
Posted March 2, 2011
Photo by Radha John shows exterior damage to temple.
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck just south of Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22, followed by at least 20 aftershocks. Many buildings have been destroyed, and the deaths of 72 people have been confirmed, with hundreds of injuries and hundreds more still missing.
ISKCON's temple in Christchurch was heavily damaged by the quake and will likely have to be demolished. A chimney fell on the outside of the building. Inside, an altar toppled over and the temple's beautiful Gaura-Nitai Deities, worshipped for 25 years, were broken, as Karunika prabhu told her guru H.H. Indradyumna Maharaj. Thus far there have been no reports of injuries or deaths among New Zealand devotees, according to temple president Ramanuja das.
Prananatha das, a New Zealand devotee who operates a business in the city, is now accepting donations to aid in the temple reconstruction. Until the devotees are able to establish a more formal channel, donations may be sent to his PayPal account, firstname.lastname@example.org; Prananatha prabhu has promised to forward to the temple all funds received.
Photo by Prananatha das shows fallen altar and broken plaster.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key has declared a nationwide emergency and is welcoming urban rescue teams and other assistance from Australia, Japan, Singapore, the United States and other countries. Although electric power has been restored to much of Christchurch, municipal water is not considered safe to drink unless it is boiled first; people are advised to collect rainwater if possible and that they can bring containers to fill with clean water at one of twenty places around the city.
Among other buildings damaged by the quake are two Christian cathedrals. The spire of the Christchurch Anglican Cathedral was knocked off, and two domed towers of the Catholic Cathedral crumbled to the ground, while supporting walls of Knox Presbyterian Church and the Chinese Methodist Church collapsed. Many people are thought to have died In the collapsed Holy Cross Chapel, where rescuers have been unable to rescue survivors.
Also destroyed are a backpackers' hostel, the Canterbury TV building, the Regent Theatre, the Pyne Gould building and the Carlton Mill Hotel, while the Hotel Grand Chancellor was said to be "on the verge of collapse." The New Zealand Herald has pictures of some of these devastated buildings at its website.
Temple Deities before the earthquake. For more information on how devotees are responding to the earthquake, please see on-line reports at http://brihadmrdanga.com.
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