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New Zealand: 6.3 magnitude quake kills at least 65 in Christchurch
Shamim | 22 Feb 2011

At least 65 people have lost life in a p powerful earthquake in Christchurch city of New Zealand on Tuesday. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the country's second largest city around lunchtime, causing buildings to collapse and causing other damages.

At least 65 people have lost life in a p powerful earthquake in Christchurch city of New Zealand on Tuesday. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the country's second largest city around lunchtime, causing buildings to collapse and sending bricks and other heavy debris toppling into busy city streets. It is reported the second major quake to strike Christchurch in five months.

Prime Minister Key held an emergency Cabinet meeting, then rushed to the stricken city to observe the scene. Talking to reporters John Key put the death toll at 65 fearing a further rise in the deaths. 
 
He said, "At this stage we have sketchy details, and suggest significant damage to buildings and infrastructure has taken place. It may be some time until the situation on the ground becomes clearer but what we do know is that the people of Canterbury are once again going through a traumatic and frightening experience."
 
APTN reports the quake destroyed the spire of the Christchurch Cathedral, which toppled into a central city square, and police said there was a report of two buses crushed under falling buildings. It further reports pavements and roads were cracked and split, and thousands of dazed, screaming and crying residents wandered through the streets as sirens blared.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker declared a state of emergency and ordered people to evacuate the city centre.
 
A man who was in a nearby building described the occurrence as horrific. He said, "I'm on the second floor of the B and Z building, to actually see the top of the cathedral come down was.. I've never seen anything like it in my life. To actually see it topple in front of the cathedral, to see the dust and have people running out underneath that dust is just.. There's just no words to be quite honest, it was absolutely awful."
 
The multi-storey Pyne Gould Guinness Building, housing more than 200 workers, collapsed and an unknown number of people were trapped inside.
 
Meanwhile Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard reports sending an Australian search and rescue team to the quake hit city. Gillard said she had offered New Zealand's Prime Minister any other support he requested.
 
Addressing the parliament the Australian Prime Minister said, "Anything we've got that they need, we will get to them. They have already requested a search and rescue team and that is literally on its way, Mr. Speaker, as this parliament meets now. We don't know what the needs will be. We certainly understand needs are likely to be time critical because there is likely to be a lot of searching to do under the rubble."

She added, "New Zealand Prime Minister Key said to me that when he's in the position to make a further assessment, he will let me know. But if we have a capability that our family in New Zealand needs, then we will certainly get it across to them. And I've conveyed to him the best wishes of the Australian people as he goes to join the people of New Zealand in Christchurch who are in shock, many in tears, many looking very dazed when you see them on the TV screens."
 
According to US Geological Survey the temblor was centred 5 kilometres from the city at a depth of 4 kilometres.