25 November 2010
The West Coast region has a total pop of around 30,000 so this is huge loss for the population.
The signs were never very hopeful as a coal mine has very different risks from a mineral mine. Also this was a horizontal mine so explosions go sideways and not upwards. There areescape tunnels and oxygen stations along the tunnels which should have increased the chances of escape. However once it was clear there was noxious gas coming from the
mine and that probably the coal was on fire there really was little hope of a successful outcome.
There will be an official enquiry which will be very important as a country of 4.5 million this tragedy you can imagine has captured the psyche every New Zealander. There are so many questions to be asked from -the safety of the mine , the Corporate Company running the mine thru to why do they not take the window of opportunity for rescuers to go in with breathing apparatus in the first 24 hours.
We are really a country in mourning and will take time to get over this tragedy. I am in close contact with a colleague in Greymouth and she has been sharing experiences of the despair and other emotions within this small Community. The is much anger with how the international media behaved.
Combined with the earthquake the South Islandhas not have a good year.
Fiona Robertson, IFSW Treasurer