#EQNZ — Latest Press release from Civil Defence: Damage from the earthquake that hit Christchurch at lunchtime today appears to be centralised in the central city.
Christchurch hospital is operational, with only one ward damaged.
Christchurch airport is open for emergencies only closed, closed for domestic pending an inspection of the runway.
Civil Defence Director John Hamilton says the National Crisis Management Centre in Wellington has established communications with the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group in Christchurch, and is still working on communications with Christchurch City Civil Defence.
Mr Hamilton says the cellphone network is suffering under the load of people trying to get in touch with loved ones and colleagues.
“It’s very important that the public to keep their use of the cellphone network – especially voice and data — to a minimum. If you must use your cellphone, please do it with text.”
“Equally, many roads are congested, so we’re asking people to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary”
The New Zealand Herald is reporting there have been “multiple fatalities” following this afternoon’s massive earthquake.
There have been ‘multiple fatalities’ after a shallow 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch this afternoon caused buildings to collapse, police have confirmed.
Police said fatalities had been reported at several locations and that two buses had been crushed by falling buildings.
Christchurch resident Jane Smith, who works in the central city, told the Herald 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.
All available police staff were helping with the rescue operation and the Defence Force had been called in to assist.
There are reports of buildings down, flooding and phone and internet being out.
GeoNet says it measured 6.3 and was just 10kms south east of Christchurch.
We’ll bring you news as we get it.
– WeatherWatch.co.nz, NZHerald.co.nz
Images from Twitter
Twitter updates shortly after the quake:
on 22/02/2011 3:57am
No word on Lyttelton yet – I suspect it’s not a pretty site there at the moment…
on 22/02/2011 4:45am
TV 1 had a guy reporting on a cell phone from Lyttelton, didn’t have any photo’s or video to show but it doesn’t sound good for them either. Collapsed buildings and all the same devistation as Christchurch.
Now we are hearing there are multiple fatalities – OMG – I can’t even begin to imagine the distress people are under.
Our thoughts are with you Canterbury. I wish we could do more.