As you probably know, there was a major earthquake (6.3) in Christchurch on Tuesday afternoon, NZ time. This quake was smaller than the one in September (7.1), but it did more damage because it was closer to the city.
All of our students and staff were all safely evacuated from our school building – which we renovated and strengthened in 2006.
But there has been major damage to the city, especially the inner city, and this time there have been many injuries and deaths. While rescue work is taking place, the inner city, including our school, is closed. It will probably remain closed through next week.
Our focus in the first few days has been ensuring that our staff and students are safe, that they are in safe accommodation, and that their agencies and – where possible – the families have accurate and up-to-date information about them so that they do not worry more than necessary.
Now we are planning ahead. That means helping students organise their Cambridge exams, moving students to Auckland, and planning for re-opening in Christchurch. We cannot be sure when we will re-open, but it will not be next week.
Students who want to move to Auckland can of course do so. Hopefully when we are open again in Christchurch they will want to move back there. Some of the students in Christchurch now are of course feeling worried, but many are also just keen for us to open again there so they can get on with studying in a city and school that they still enjoy.
I am very proud of how our team in both Christchurch and Auckland, and our homestays and our partners around the world have coped with this situation. Thank you all for your support and cooperation.
If you need more information urgently, email me on darrenc@languages.ac.nz or phone me on +64 21 362 614.