Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake

Rescuers are toiling overnight in New Zealand to reach scores of trapped people after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which has claimed at least 65 lives. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says more than 100 people are feared buried in collapsed buildings in the city.
The disaster struck at a shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) on Tuesday lunchtime when Christchurch was at its busiest.
It is the South Island city's second tremor in six months, and the country's worst natural disaster in 80 years.


Time is of essence

The mayor has declared a state of emergency and ordered the city centre's evacuation.
On a cold and wet night, emergency teams have been toiling under floodlights to reach survivors, as relatives keep vigil outside.
Rescue teams with sniffer dogs have been fanning out across Christchurch.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said that 350 military personnel had been deployed to help with search and rescue efforts.
"The government is willing to throw everything it can in the rescue effort. Time is going to be of essence," Mr English said.
The government has accepted an offer of specialist help from Australia, whose rescuers are due to arrive in New Zealand shortly.
A series of aftershocks, some as big as magnitude 5, have rattled the stricken city of nearly 400,000 people.
Many power and telephone lines are knocked out, while burst water mains have deluged whole districts.
Up to 30 people were feared trapped inside the flattened Pyne Gould Guinness building, where screams have been heard from the ruins.

Students missing

Trapped under her office desk, Anne Voss told a New Zealand TV station: "I rang my kids to say goodbye. It was absolutely horrible.
"My daughter was crying and I was crying because I honestly thought that was it. You know, you want to tell them you love them, don't you?"
She said she could hear other people alive in the building, and had called out to them.

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