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Ryan Nelsen expresses relief as family survive New Zealand earthquake

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25 Feb 2011 13:54:27

Ryan Nelsen expresses relief as family survive New Zealand earthquake

Relief: Blackburn defender Nelsen Ryan Nelsen has described the sense of helplessness he felt watching footage of the aftermath of the earthquake in his home city of Christchurch and waiting for news of his pregnant sister Stephanie. All the New Zealander's family still live in the South Island city, which was devastated by Tuesday's natural disaster. Blackburn defender Nelsen first learned about the quake at around 2am when he began to receive text messages from friends, and events took a very personal turn for the 33-year-old as his sister went into labour before giving birth to baby George. He said: 'I put CNN on and just saw what was going on. I tried to call my parents but obviously phones were down and mobile phones weren't working. 'It was about 6am or 7am when I finally got hold of my parents, which was a big relief when they said they were okay. But then they said my sister had been knocked down. 'She was 37 weeks pregnant and she's got brittle bone disease so that was really worrying. She had to get from her house to hospital and the place was in a state of emergency. It was an absolute wreck, all the roads were gone. 'My parents didn't know if she'd made it, then she had to go into surgery, so it was a really stressful morning. At training I had a phone by me and I was just waiting for some good news, and when it came it was a huge relief. 'From all the carnage and all the havoc it's a really nice glimmer of light to come out of it.' Carnage: The death toll is expected to rise to over 300 Nelsen has been given permission by Rovers to return to New Zealand but he is currently planning to stay in England and is preparing for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa. The defender, who captained his country in last year's World Cup finals in South Africa, said: 'If my family wanted me to go back I'd go back tomorrow because it puts everything into perspective. 'It's horrible. When your parents and your friends are talking to you and you hear the stories, you kind of want to be there. Being over here there's just an absolute helplessness. 'I grew up in Christchurch. I played in the parks, I ran around all the monuments. To see all your memories destroyed is surreal. 'We're a country that doesn't experience this. We don't have any wars, we don't have any conflicts. There's 113 dead but it's going to be more, it'll probably end up being over 300, and that's the biggest disaster ever in New Zealand's history.' Paying their respects: New Zealand observed a one-minute silence ahead of their World Cup clash with Australia Nelsen is planning to wear a black armband tomorrow as a personal tribute to the victims, and in the long term he will play his part in what is certain to be a mammoth fundraising effort. 'Once the dust settles we'll figure out a plan of what I can do to help but the damage is so ridiculously high that the city will need a lot of help,' he added. 'We're talking in the tens of billions to regenerate the city again.' Tomorrow Nelsen will turn his attention back to football, and he is hoping it will prove a welcome distraction after the most difficult of weeks. He said: 'It's not ideal but I understand it's my job and it's an extremely important game for both teams. I'll be giving absolutely everything for the club but I've got to admit it hasn't been ideal preparation. 'Hopefully when you get out there and the Aston Villa fans start abusing you then you know you're back in a football game, and it'll feel good.'  Nelsen to wear black armband in support of those lost in earthquakeCaptain Nelson to remain at Blackburn after ruling out move to another English clubBlackburn Rovers FC news from across the web  Explore more:People: Ryan Nelsen Places: New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa


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