The casualty figures are rising in Christchurch, New Zealand following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the city of 400,000 people at lunchtime.
It was the city’s second strong tremor in five months.
As darkness fell at least 65 people were known to have died, with up to 200 more still trapped in collapsed buildings.
“We just don’t know what the likely threat is and so we’d much rather err on the side of caution, so we’ll try and evacuate the town centre if we can, and the police will cordon it off so that people can’t go in or out, and the army will assist them in that regard,” says Civil Defence Minister John Carter.
New Zealand’s second-biggest city is built on silt, sand and gravel above a water table, which rises when an earthquake hits. This shock was only 4 kilometres below the surface, amplifying its destructive power, and almost liquifying the solid ground above it.
The city is being described as “like a war zone”, with the cathedral shattered and many buildings that survived last year’s quake now feared damaged beyond repair. It is the country’s deadliest natural disaster in 80 years.
Get a different perspective
Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.