CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - Mourners from New Zealand, Japan and several other countries gathered Friday at the site of a TV building in Christchurch that collapsed during a massive earthquake that hit the city two years ago, killing 115 people.
The New Zealand Herald said the fenced-in site of the CTV Building, nothing but a concrete pad now, was opened to those wanting to pay their respects to the people who died in the building’s collapse.
Among the 115 dead, were 71 foreign students, 28 of them from Japan, who were studying English at King’s Education School for English Language that was housed in the building’s upper floors.
Kazuo Horita, the father of victim Megumi Horita, said, “The building is gone, but the dead people’s memories remain here.”
Before the intimate gathering on the site of the CTV building, people gathered in Latimer Square, about 100 meters away, for a civic ceremony attended by about 1,000 people.
“I know it’s a difficult day for you,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told the gathering, according to the Herald. “Your grief is still raw and only time can numb the pain of your loss. The city and country still feels for you.”
In all, 185 people died in the magnitude 6.3 quake that struck Christchurch at 12:51 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2011. Most of the victims were in the six-story CTV Building, which collapsed and then burned.