We are so used to seeing bombs and explosions in war torn nations, that to have such a disaster - with the cause unknown at this stage - seems incredible. I am wondering how I could have slept through such a huge blast, such a short distance away. And I am wondering how severe the repercussions will be for the local businesses and people.
It is a small suburb, and I walk up and down the main street on most days, either to walk a bit, to shop or to catch the bus into the city. Most residents do much of their shopping locally and we residents know our shops, business and locality well - and they know us. It is a comfortable and familiar environment. We know each other's faces, we smile and greet each other, we feel at home. And not to be able to traverse our streets, and to go about our daily routine, is a rude shock - and of course most of us are affected and afflicted in minor ways. We have yet to learn the full human tragedies of the explosion and fires.
Friends and relatives from far away have heard this news and have telephoned. We are a fortunate country: we rarely suffer from such disasters, and those that do afflict us are but seldom caused by human evil and action. This local disaster and its repercussions and consequences will undoubtedly give pain and problems to those most nearly affected. Today there has been the human tragedy, and the minor inconvenience of blocked streets and clogged traffic. We wonder about our dead and injured: while we fear the worst, we hope for the best. And we admire the way the emergency services, the police, the firefighters and the medical services have swung into action.
Some time ago our local fire station was closed. There was an outcry from the community. It has since re-opened. The alarm went off in that station early this morning, and within three minutes the fire brigade and fire fighters were there, being absolutely heroic, keeping out society functioning, rescuing and helping people, and doing a good job. I hope the bean counters and the economic rationalists take due notice. People and their lives do matter.