Severe aftershocks are hitting the South Island city of Christchurch in New Zealand this afternoon following a powerful 6.3 quake at 12:51pm local time.
Locals who experienced the more powerful 7.1 quake on September 4th 2010 are saying this one felt much worse. The main reason is because this earthquake is far more shallow. The Sept 4th quake was centred further away and was deeper at 10kms. Today’s big quake was just 5kms deep, incredibly shallow for such a strong earthquake. It was also only centred 10kms to the south east of the city.
The NZ Police are now reporting “multiple fatalities” with reports of two buses completely crushed, numerous buildings destroyed.
This earthquake struck during the middle of lunch hour on a Tuesday afternoon.
Unlike the September 4th quake more modern buildings appear to be damaged fromt oday’s big quake and the CBD certainly is more chaotic judging by TV scenes and Twitter photos.
TV3 is showing footage of what appears to be relatively modern buildings lying on their side or in some cases completely collapsed. They are also reporting about 200 people trapped in one CBD building.
On September 4th the bulk of the damage was to very old brick buildings.
A person WeatherWatch.co.nz spoke to a short time ago was on the 7th floor of a radio station in the central city. She says the quake hit with no warning and no rumbling and was incredibly violent. She told us everything came off the walls as she sheltered under her desk. She reported screaming in the building as people evacuated and while walking back to her home she saw buildings completely collapsed.
The airport is closed, the hospital has been evacuated and Auckland hospital has been put on “code red” according to media reports. There are also reports of Ambulance shortages.