Feb 23, 2011 8:32 PM by Bethany Tucker, KSBY News

Local woman with ties to New Zealand reacts to earthquake

The devastating images that are coming in from New Zealand are especially hard to watch for a Shell Beach woman and her family.

Pam Roberts lived in Wellington with her family for six years. They often visited and still have friends in Christchurch, the city in which a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck early this week.

"To know that there's people that you love and care about, and to see it on TV is devastating," Robert tells us. "It just really hits home when there are people that you've lived with and been around. I'm just praying for them."

Authorities in New Zealand report 75 people have died in the earthquake. Another 300 people are missing.

Roberts knows Christchurch as a beautiful town, recounting trips there. Showing us maps, she tells us about a time she stayed just down the street from one of the famed cathedrals that toppled in the quake. "We walked up in that church and I'm telling you, I was upstairs and told my husband 'I do not want to be up here if there was an earthquake," said Roberts. "It was old and it was beautiful, but it was all brick. All of this was destroyed."

In their years living in New Zealand, Roberts and her family made many friends. One of those friends is an EMT in Christchurch. She has gotten word he's been one of those rescuers working to find the missing. "They said to pray because he is literally pulling out people from underneath buildings," Roberts explains. "He has a big heart. I know he won't stop until the very end, until he finishes finding everyone that he possibly can."

Roberts says earthquakes are something often on the mind of New Zealanders. "You're always preparing for something like this," she said. New Zealand is still recovering from a magnitude seven quake the struck in September 2010. "It rumbles all the time, they just live on the fault lines," Roberts continues.

But Roberts says she's confident the community will pull together to help those affected by the disaster. "The churches pull together in Christchurch. They're amazing."

Roberts says she and her husband were planning a trip to New Zealand in April. She says they may turn the vacation into more of an aid trip. She tells us once they find out what the needs are in New Zealand, they plan on asking the community for help with donating relief supplies.

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