November 24, 2017

Huge Earthquake hits Christchurch, NZ – Massive damage and loss of life

A large 6.3 magnitude earthquake has struck Christchurch, New Zealand with reports of buildings and houses destroyed. The quake has struck the city in the middle of lunch hour on Tuesday afternoon at 12.51pm NZ time.

The quake was centred on the Port of Lyttelton at a depth of only 5km. Winesses are saying it felt a lot stronger than the September Quake.

Police said fatalities had been reported at several locations and that two buses had been crushed by falling buildings. Currently the official death toll stands at 154 but there are 50 missing feared dead in the rubble.

Christchurch resident Jane Smith, who works in the central city, told the NZ Herald newspaper a work colleague had just returned from helping rescue efforts after a building facade had collapsed on a bus on Colombo St.

“There’s people dead. He was pulling them out of a bus. Colombo St is completely munted.”

Police said there were reports of fires in buildings in the central city and of people being trapped.

TV3 reported the Provincial Chambers Building had collapsed and it was believed people were trapped inside.

GNS Science says that the earthquake would have caused more damage than the original 7.1 magnitude earthquake in September 2010, because of its shallow depth. They say its epicentre is in the worst possible place for the city.

Witnesses said there were buildings down all around Cathedral Square in the city, with the Cathedral badly damaged. The spire of the Cathedral has collapsed and the building has suffered extensive damage. Police say 22 people are missing in the Cathedral. Another Church in Durham street has collapsed.

A Christchurch resident says it is by far the biggest earthquake to hit Christchurch since the original massive 7.1 quake on 4 September 2010.

There are reports of massive power outages and phone lines down.

Liquefication is affecting many parts of Christchurch with water spewing out of the ground.

Traffic lights are out and traffic is at a standstill with thousands of people blocking the streets.

Mayor Bob Parker reports seeing plumes of smoke rising from different parts of the city.

John Hamilton, head of Civil Defence, says a level 3 emergency has been declared. This is the highest level that can be declared for a regional emergency.

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A Church destroyed in the earthquake