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

    Clinton, Kaine Project Optimism in First Joint Campaign Event

    Kaine, a moderate, has potential to attract voters repelled by Donald Trump and those who may have a hard time fully embracing Clinton

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora