All six Pomona students studying at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand are unharmed after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit near there Tuesday morning, killing at least 75 in the city. The university suffered relatively little damage compared to the devastated city center.
As of Thursday, all American students on the study abroad program, Frontiers Abroad, were being relocated to the University of Canterbury Westport Field Station, about 200 miles from Christchurch.
According to Will Hummel PO ’12, one of the students on the program, the quake occurred on the second day of classes.
“I’m sort of numb to it at this point,” Hummel said of the dozens of aftershocks he has experienced since Tuesday. “The whole thing has been very eerie. You never know when the ground is going to shake.”
“I didn’t think that it was very big because I had no scale of reference,” Hummel said of the initial quake. “I didn’t realize the scale of the problem until about an hour after the earthquake hit when we started hearing rumors that the iconic cathedral in Christchurch had collapsed.”
“I never knew the ground could move this much,” he added.
Hummel called Christchurch “a real disaster area.”
“There’s no public transportation,” he said. “Roads are closed going into the city center. It remains to be seen how long it takes for things to get back to normal.”