A devastating earthquake strikes New Zealand, causing widespread destruction and multiple fatalities
A powerful earthquake has struck New Zealand and killed at least 65 people in the country’s deadliest natural disaster in over 80 years.
The 6.3-magnitude tremor struck at lunchtime on Tuesday, 6.2 miles south-east of the city of Christchurch, and has caused widespread destruction.
The New Zealand prime minister John Key reports that at least 65 people have been killed with the death toll expected to rise further in what he describes as New Zealand’s ‘darkest day’.
‘It is just a scene of utter devastation,’ says Key. ‘We have to work as fast as we can to get people out of environments where they are trapped.
‘This is a community that is absolutely in agony. We just need this community, as it has done before and as it will do again, to come together, to check and support one another.’
Police have reported that among the dead were victims on two buses which were crushed by falling buildings.
Landmarks such as the spire of Christchurch Cathedral toppled into the square below, and the powerful quake caused over 30m tons of ice to break away from New Zealand’s biggest glacier, Tasman Glacier, in the Mount Cook National Park.
One british backpacker said that the city ‘looked like a bomb had hit it’.
Emergency shelters have been set up in the city to provide shelter to those that have lost their homes.
The mayor of New Zealand’s second-biggest city says at least 200 people are believed to still be trapped under rubble and a state of emergency has been declared.
Tuesday’s tremor follows a 7.1-magnitude earthquake which hit the city of Christchurch in September and left two dead with an estimated $3bn in damage.
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