Earthquake Hits New Zealand
Earthquake leaves 65 people dead. 100 still lay trapped in rubble.
February 22nd 2011
6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand at 12:51pm Tuesday NZ time 6:51pm Monday ET
The earthquake hit hard in the business area of the city centre.
At this point there are 65 people known to have died and at least 100 people are trapped in the rubble.
It was the middle of the workday, just past the noon hour and people had gone back to work.
Many buildings were destroyed.
Shortly after the quake hit, there were two aftershocks. The first one measuring a magnitude of 5.6 and the second measured 5.5.
The city and the people are devastated.
Prime Minister John Key said “This could be New Zealand’s darkest day.”
Mayor Bob Parker declared a state of emergency and ordered a complete evacuation of the area.
Involved in the rescue mission:
Emergency crews (Firemen, parametics…)
Sniffer (rescue) dogs
Soon after the quake hit New Zealand the airport was closed and Christchurch Hospital was closed temporarily for safety reasons.
Power lines and phone lines were knocked down.
Water pipes had burst and were flooding the streets.
Fires were burning all over the city.
People were trying to free others with their hands removing the rubble and debris.
People were rushing to get out of the city while traffic backed up along the destroyed roads.
Injured people and those that fled the buildings were gathered in a large park getting what medical care they could.
Christchurch’s well-known 101 year old stone cathedral was severely damaged in the September 2010 earthquake and what remained was laid to ruin today.
As well as at least nine other buildings during the tremors.
Survivors that were trapped inside the buildings were phoning loved ones with their cellular phones.
Christchurch stone Cathedral (you can see the area where repairs were being done before the quake)
A Japanese school crumbled with teachers and students that were visiting Christchurch.
Two students were rescued but there are many yet to be found.
There were 21 students and 2 teachers in total.
A trapped teacher could see seven of the students but did not know if the rest were injured or not.
Cries For Help
One man had phoned the Associated Press and said he and 19 work mates were trapped in the building they worked from. They were holding onto the walls as the tremors shook the buildings once again. They dove under their desks and could see what was happening outside. The stairwell of the building had collapsed in the initial quake.
They could see there were more urgent cases for the emergency crews to attend to.
People are being urged not to use the phone unless it is an emergency so that those trapped can phone for help.
Weather analyst Philip Duncan said “It’s incredibly rare for a big earthquake to be so shallow”, which made it more violent and wouldn’t have caused as much rumbling and rocking as most earthquakes would.
In other words, it hit before anyone knew to expect it.
Even though on the Richter scale the earthquake registered lower, due to the depth of the quake it was much stronger in force.
This is part of a delayed aftershock from the earthquake that hit in September.
370,000 people live in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Two smaller towns nearby had been effected by the earthquake, Lyttelton and New Brighton were hit hard as well.
In September 2010, New Zealand had been hit by a larger earthquake of 7.1 not far from Christchurch.
There was $3 billion in damages in that earthquake though no one died.
In this earthquake Christchurch was 10 to 20 kilometres away from the fault rupture so it was much more devastating.
© Copyright Nina Munroe Mason. 02/22/11 9:52am EST
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