Christchurch was rocked yesterday by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. There have been fatalaties and substantial damage was done to that lovely city.
Christchurch residents were going about their daily business when a violent 6.3 earthquake shook their city on Tuesday 22nd February. The earthquake happened at lunchtime and by 10pm that night the death toll was confirmed at 65. Mayor Bob Parker has warned people that this figure will undoubtedly rise. Approximately 120 people have been pulled from the rubble and it is estimated that another 100 are still trapped.
Bob Parker has appealed to the public to conserve water. The earthquake has caused extensive damage to the waterways and sewerage system that were already crippled by the 4th September quake. At this time, water is only being pumped to the northwest of Christchurch and this is not at full strength. People have been asked not to shower or flush toilets unnecessarily. All drinking water must be boiled.
It is estimated that 80% of Christchurch has no power after the earthquake damaged electrical substations. Power and gas to the city centre have been cut to the CBD but in spite of this, a couple of fires have broken out.
I know readers of The American Catholic will be besieging Heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christchurch, as well as making contributions to the relief funds I am sure will be set up.
An update from longtime commenter Don the Kiwi:
Even though this quake at 6.3 was not as strong as the last one in September last year which was 7.1, the epicentre was much closer to the city – only 10 kilometers as opposed to 40 km., and was much shallower – only 5 km. as opposed to 20. So the effect has much much stronger and more devestating. Most of the older building in the city have been flattened or damaged beyond repair, as many modern buildings have also. Many building which had been weakened from the last quake but still habitable, have now been totalled. The Christchurch Cathedral – Anglican – has lost its Gothic spire, and much of the building, although still standing, is considered a right-off.
The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is of Byzantine style, but I have not heard how it has fared this time. I will e-mail my friend Steve Sparrow in Chch to get an update.
I also have 2 friends from Tauranga down there – they are building contractors, and have been down there for some months doing damage assessments on mainly residential homes. In the last quake, 90,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Now there are a few more. I heard of one person who just moved back into his renovated home 48 hour before this second quake – this time, he needs a new house.
I have e-mailed Don with a message from my friend in Chch – he is okay, but our Basilica appears to be history, along with the Anglican cathedral.
The vieao linked shows a beatiful old anglican church, and one of the many beautilful old homes around Chch. The suburb of Brighton where it shows flooding is close to the coast and low lying – much of the flooding would have been liquefaction.
The city is still experiencing severe aftershocks, and the bigest highest hotel in Chch has suffered structural damage, and will probably colapse bringing with it other nearby buildings. the CTV building near to it has had major collapse, and it is feared that many of the 300 people who work there have been killed.
My friends who are doing assessment there are safe. One was actually inside a house inspecting a chimney, but the chimney stayed upright – he is pretty shaken though.
Many countries are providing help. The Aussies landed a specialist team at first light this morning. The Americnas and British are sending specialist teams, as are one of our Arab trading partners, along with others in the Pacific rim. The response has been amazing.
Even though Chch is our second largest city, there are only about 400,000 inhabitant population – one advantage in a situation like this I guess. Still, the human tragedy is not diminished by numbers. There are trajic as well as heroic stories coming out of this event as I type.
Your prayers are appreciated. God bless you all.
Here is the e-mail from Don the Kiwi’s friend Steve Sparrow: