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Shock reverberates around glbt community

Wed 23 Feb 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Christchurch Cathedral was heavily damaged in the earthquake. Photo: Twitter - @tesswoolcock As the horrific extent of the catastrophic Christchurch aftershock becomes clearer, glbt people across the country and the globe have been desperately seeking contact with loved ones in the disaster zone. Gay Olympian Blake Skjellerup, a Christchurch native, has been watching the scenes of devastation on Sky News in Calgary and urgently making contact with friends and family back home. The  has been relieved to find out his family is safe, but saddened at the death and destruction. "The devastation is surreal, but we Cantabrians are like no other," he has written on Facebook. "We stand tall and we stand strong. We are one eyed and extremely proud of our city. Today's devastation saddens us all, but we love our city and will revive her back to her beautiful glory. "For those who want to help. Save your pennies and make that trip to New Zealand you have always wanted to do in a year from now. Christchurch is truly an amazing city. Today is its darkest day and my thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones. Christchurch will need our love and care for years to come." Auckland lesbian burlesque artist Phloss Candy was visiting Christchurch when the quake struck and has managed to escape unharmed, with just her phone and the clothes on her back. "Been in shock all day so am exhausted now," she wrote last night. "Huge, huge thanks to everyone who's contacted me. Can't wait till the airport is open again so I can come home ASAP. The aftershocks are not fun at all," she says. "My thoughts and regards out to everyone who is still trapped in buildings or have been killed or injured. It's so surreal." Phloss has managed to get a seat on a flight home this morning. The Gay Auckland Business Association is extending a hand to coordinate efforts to help any member of the glbt Canterbury community, with President Glenn Sims saying "we will do anything we can". Members of the Gay Business Association in Christchurch are understandably busy in the wake of the disaster but are considering what help may be required. GayNZ.com has already received offers of places to stay around the North Island for anyone displaced by the quake or wanting to take a break from Christchurch. The Gay Games crew has asked its friends around the world to spare moment for the people of Christchurch. If you have been impacted by the quake and need help from members of the glbt community, or you just need to talk, please call OUTLine toll free on 0800 OUTLINE (688 5463). OUTLine has also kindly offered to coordinate any offers of help.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 23rd February 2011 - 10:35am

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