Christchurch has been hit by another serious earthquake. Reports are pretty thin on the ground but it seems to have been 6.3. I’ve been told by family down south that it felt bigger than the September quake.
Here’s hoping that everyone is okay.
update: not everyone was okay, at least 65 dead. This is one of those horrible and defining moments in New Zealand history. Our hearts go out to Christchurch and its citizens.
It looks like the major civil defense structure in in place. If anyone notes anything important on the civil defense side then comment it at the end of the comments. I’m going to get back to doing some actual work.
But in a word of warning. This post has been politics free with no comment on any political figure apart from Bob Parker declaring a state of emergency. I’d be quite irritated (and not averse to expressing it) if I find political bickering in the comments on this post. Until a political post is written on the subject, confine your political commentary to OpenMike.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker declared a local state of emergency for at least the next five days.
He says the damage in the city is “immense” and the city will need help from other areas of New Zealand.
Mr Parker says the central city around the four avenues is being cordoned off for the foreseeable future and the central city area was being evacuated, though he asked people not to travel unnecessarily.
An emergency operations centre has been set up in the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Mr Parker urged people to do their best to stay calm, and said people should conserve water, and should boil water before using it.
Civil Defence and Emergency Management has made contact with the Environment Canterbury Civil Defence, but has yet to make communication with Christchurch City Council Civil Defence.
Christchurch Hospital is now operational, with only one ward was damaged.
Christchurch Airport is still closed pending an inspection of the runway.
Contact Energy says is has had reports of gas leaks and is preparing to shut off the gas supply as a precaution. It also warns consumers to turn off all gas appliances and their gas mains if they can locate them.
Police are arresting people who are getting in the way of emergency services trying to help those trapped and injured.
The emergency 111 system is not working; people should call 03 211 3044.
Six aftershocks have hit Christchurch this afternoon. A 3.4 hit at 2.37pm, a 4.0 hit at 2.39 and a larger 5.5 hit at 2.50pm within 5km of Lyttelton.
Eighty percent of Christchurch is without power.
Christchurch-based Herald reporter Jarrod Booker said the southern suburbs appeared to be particularly badly hit.
Liquefaction is forcing tarmac up in the middle of the road and water and sand are spewing out of chasms
The 111 phone system in Southland is out of action following today’s earthquake in Christchurch.
Anyone needing urgent assistance from the police must phone their local police station direct – this number is in the BLUE pages at the front of the Southland phone book.
Anyone needing an ambulance in Southland must phone 03 211 3044.
Anyone needing assistance from the Fire Service must phone the police, who may be able to redirect your call.
Civil Defence has alerted all Urban Search and Rescue teams in the city, and an Australian team is on call.
Temporary accommodation is being organised for those who have been displaced, with tents possibly to be erected in Hagley Park.
The hospital has been evacuated and several rest homes are also being considered for evacuation.
There are reports 60 percent of Lyttelton has been virtually demolished.
All AM radio frequencies are out in Christchurch. Newstalk ZB is broadcasting on 91.3FM, 97.7FM and 106.5FM Christchurch.
New pictures show a great deal of liquefaction in the central city.
MFAT says people in Australia with fears for relatives can call: 1300 555 135.
Geonet reports a second magnitude 4.4 aftershock at 1.46pm, centred 10km east of Lyttelton at a depth of 5km.
Herald reporter Jarrod Booker says there is still massive gridlock in the streets. Emergency services are struggling to get through the queues of traffic and are having to slowly manoeuvre their way through the traffic.
Some people are standing on the footpath just staring into space in shock.
“Multiple fatalities have been reported at several locations in the central city, including two buses crushed by falling buildings. A doctor and emergency services are attending,” police said. There have been reports of fires in buildings and people trapped inside buildings.
The quake on Tuesday was centred 10km south-east of the South Island city and struck at 12.51pm. It was felt as far south as Dunedin.
The Fire Service has confirmed that some people have been killed.
National Civil Defence Controller David Coetzee says the damage is worse than the 7.1-magnitude quake on 4 September last year and “significant” aftershocks should be expected.
Defence forces have been called in to assist, police said.
Police report Christchurch Hospital has not been evacuated and is in operation. Triage centres for the injured have been set up at Latimer Square (Central City) Spotlight Mall (Sydenham) and Sanitarium (Papanui).
The police have confirmed multiple fatalities from today’s quake.
NZH 1.50pm: (partial)
Civil Defence advice:
Listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls.
National Business Review reporter Chris Hutching told the NBR website: “The roads are running with water. It’s like rivers everywhere. The shakes are happening every minute. There are constant aftershocks.”
McRae says he believe there must have been people killed and major injuries. TVNZ building has been severely damaged.
Civil Defence spokesman Vince Cholewa said the National Crisis Centre has been triggered and was preparing what Government response there would be.
“The quake is significantly smaller than the previous Christchurch earthquake, however it was very shallow and might have been very close to the centre of the city,” he said.
Mr Cholewa was not aware of any casualties or the extent of the damage.
“We are still getting a picture of what has happened and we are aware of the details.”
The quake was magnitude 6.3 at a depth of 5km, centred 10km southeast of Christchurch.
According to Christchurch police, the Cathedral has taken a big hit. There are no further details yet.