New Zealand Earthquake
Image Credit: bopcivildefence.govt.nz
Local authorities in New Zealand confirm 65 deaths due to the 6.3 magnitude earthquake. The quake shocked the residents of Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday, February 21, 12:50 p.m., local time. Frantic rescuers continue to rescue other victims who were trapped in collapsed buildings, buckled streets and buses and ruined cathedral.
The quake’s epicenter is in Lyttelton but the powerful earth’s movements were also felt in Wellington, Dunedin and Canterbury region. There were a series of aftershocks that occurred including the 5.6 magnitude just 15 minutes after.
According to local and international reports, the 147-year old Christchurch Cathedral toppled, the city’s airport was forced to close and phone lines including the emergency number are knocked out. Further reports confirm water running through the streets and building in serious damage. Another entry is on a building collapsing on a bus, injuring passengers.
Even when the number of injuries and extent of damages are still unknown, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker declared a state of emergency. Although the lines of communications are slowly being restored by authorities, New Zealand Minister John Carter still urged the residents of Christchurch to help in preventing overloading of lines by sending text messages instead of calls.
The devastating effect of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake does not end with the increasing reports of deaths. The New Zealand dollar dropped to its lowest level against the US currency today. The devaluation is the result of the numerous reported deaths and the overwhelming collapse of infrastructures.
Residents of Southern New Zealand are no longer new to earthquakes. September last year, they experienced a quake with a magnitude of 7.1. This is the most damaging earthquake since 1931.