Christchurch, New Zealand – Hundreds of out-of-town doctors attending a urology conference in Christchurch, New Zealand pitched in when an earthquake injured hundreds and caused serious damage to the city.
The Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand was holding its 64th Annual Scientific Meeting at the Christchurch Convention Centre on February 22 when the magnitude 6.3 quake rocked the city.
The leaders of the conference, which had about 600 attendees, called a halt to the proceedings and offered Christchurch officials the services of the physicians and nurses for rendering first aid to the injured in the downtown area.
The convention center itself appeared to weather the shaking without significant damage and the media in neighboring Australian reported there were only a few minor injuries among the attendees.
“Just in the middle of a session, you know, the speaker was speaking and suddenly the ground shook, and glass was breaking and it was really quite frightening,” one surgeon told Australia’s radio 3AW. “Fortunately nobody from our convention appears to be severely hurt, but there’s a lot of major destruction here in Christchurch.”
The society said on its website February 23 that the meeting was canceled and International visitors to Christchurch, including most of the conference attendees, were being evacuated to Wellington to await transportation to Australia.