News / Asia

Emergency Responders Overwhelmed By New Zealand Quake

People walk past rubble as they help the injured evacuate after an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, in this February 22, 2011 image taken from video footage.
People walk past rubble as they help the injured evacuate after an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, in this February 22, 2011 image taken from video footage.

A massive earthquake has devastated the New Zealand city of Christchurch, toppling tall office buildings at the height of the workday and killing at least 65 people.

Fire and rescue crews said their resources were overwhelmed as they struggled to cope with large numbers of people injured and trapped in the rubble. Helicopters were used to douse some fires and a crane was called in to rescue workers from the roof of a high-rise office tower.

Prime Minister John Key, who rushed to the city from the capital, Wellington, said the death toll was liable to rise. He said, "We may be witnessing New Zealand's darkest day."

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake was the second in five months for the city, which came through a 7.1-magnitude quake in September without loss of life. But seismologists said this one struck closer to the city and much closer to the surface, making it far more intense.

The earlier quake also came at 5 a.m., while most residents were safe in their beds. Tuesday's temblor struck just before 1 p.m., when workers were in their offices or in the streets for lunch and children were making their way home from school.

Video footage showed several multi-story buildings that fell in on themselves or into the streets, including the iconic Christchurch Cathedral, whose stone spire collapsed into a city square. Dazed residents wandered along the broken sidewalks as ambulances raced through rubble-strewn streets with sirens blaring.

The city's airport was shut down and many roads are impassible.

Mr. Key said in a television interview that crews would work through the night to find and rescue people who are trapped in the collapsed buildings.  He said 350 military troops were already at work in the city and another 250 were on the way to relieve them.

Slideshow of Eathquake damage



The prime minister described seeing residents sitting by the side of the road with their heads in their hands and said the city of about 350,000 people is "in absolute agony."  He said offers of help have been received from the United States and Australia.

Radio New Zealand reporter Laura Davis told VOA from Auckland that search-and-rescue teams were being flown in from around the country and that the government has accepted an offer of help from neighboring Australia.

She said 70 army medical staff have been deployed to help the city's overtaxed emergency crews and that up to 400 army troops had been sent to help seal off the most affected areas. The city's airport was shut down and many roads are impassible.

Davis also said schools had let out shortly before the quake and that many children were walking home when it struck. She said it was not clear what had happened to them.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered five kilometers from Christchurch and at a depth of just four kilometers. Government seismologist Bill Fry told VOA that made it much more intense than the stronger quake that hit the city in September.

Fry explained that during the 10-second temblor, the ground was accelerating more rapidly "than the rate of an apple falling out of a tree."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid