Christchurch earthquake claims 65 lives

By Doug Newhouse |

An estimated 65 lives have been lost after an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the richter scale hit the city of Christchurch just after 12.50pm (23.51 GMT/Monday) on New Zealand’s South Island. The government has declared a state of emergency, although Christchurch Airport’s terminal buildings and control tower remain intact. Currently the airport is now closed with all flights cancelled until at least tomorrow.

The latest earthquake hit Christchurch following several earlier recorded aftershocks from last September’s 7.1-magnitude quake. While yesterday’s quake was lower in magnitude than last September’s, it struck only 10km adjacent to the city causing massive damage estimated at billions of dollars.

Courageous rescue teams and ordinary citizens were still braving aftershocks today as they searched for people buried in collapsed buildings in the centre of Christchurch and engineers were working relentlessly to try and make power lines safe, restore communications and address multiple burst pipes.

The military has also been called in to assist with the rescue efforts wherever it can. Meanwhile, back at the airport, there is damage reported to the domestic and international terminals, but the extent is not known at this time and the airport remains closed.

While more than 1,000 people were evacuated from the terminal buildings when the earthquake struck, there are no reports of any injuries during this exercise.



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