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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

State of emergency declared after NZ quake

A state of emergency had been declared by Christchurch mayor Bob Parker following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that happened in New Zealand at 12:51, in a report by NZ Herald.
Eyewitness saw a score of dead bodies lying on the streets although official reports of casualties are not yet available.
"We've had friends in town call us and say there are just bodies lying around; lots of dead bodies outside shops just lying there just covered in bricks," resident Jaydn Katene said.
"When it hit we were knocked to our feet. Everything in the house fell down, nothing was left still standing. There's more damage than the first earthquake, the roads are completely torn up; sewage coming up and flooding. It's crazy."
There were reports that another three aftershocks have occurred. The third aftershock happened at 16:04 with a magnitude of 4.6 whose epicenter was detected within 5 km of Christchurch.
Local media reported that rescue teams had been deployed to the Forsyth Barr Building on Colombo Street where at least 24 people were trapped after the collapse of a stairwell.
John Carter of the Civil Defense Ministry said that many hotels were hit and severely damaged and it was not clear if people had been evacuated yet. Two infantry companies are helping the police evacuate the city.
"The most important point we want to address over the next 24 hours is the safety of the people," Carter said.
Communication lines are "holding up pretty well," Telecom's communications manager Mark Watts said. Emergency hotlines are up but remained congested.
At 17:00, Prime Minister John Key will arrive via Air Force plane in the devastated city where he will make a public appearance.
Offers for help were immediately available according to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.
Australia's PM Julia Gillard said that search and rescue team is "literally on its way," and that her country will provide any assistance requested by New Zealand.
Details of this story here.

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