With at least 65 people killed and upwards of 100 more people trapped in shattered buildings, New Zealand’s second city Christchurch is counting the cost of its second major earthquake in five months.
Night has now fallen and rescuers are racing against time to try and save lives.
“All of our energy tonight is really focused on the need to rescue people. As you will have heard already in the central city we have a significant number of fatalities,” said Mayor Bob Parker.
Unlike last year’s quake which hit the city during the night, this tremor struck at lunchtime, pitching masonry into busy streets and flattening buildings full of workers. Buses were crushed and the water table was forced up, flooding wide areas.
Many roads have been cut isolating some communities, and the military and helicopters have been mobilised to help with the relief effort. A state of emergency has been declared for Christchurch, where ambulances are in short supply and hospitals are struggling to cope with the influx of injured.