Devastating Christchurch Quake

February 23, 2011 | Natural Disasters, Top News

The Hotel Grand Chancellor (Photo: Don Scott/stuff.co.nz)

A day after a powerful earthquake rattled Christchurch, the rescue teams continue searching for people trapped beneath the piles of rubble of collapsed buildings. More than 75 people were killed with hundreds still missing.  A state of emergency was declared today by the country’s Prime Minister John Key. This will provide civil defence authorities more power and control in the disaster areas.

Thousands of tourists were also evacuated to safer accommodation outside the quake-hit city.  There are also fears that the Hotel Grand Chancellor, tallest building in the city, may collapse as it continues to weaken due to aftershocks.

The 6.3 magnitude tremor made buildings and cathedral to collapse. It was described as the costliest disaster in the world and a ‘terrible sight’ of devastation.  The search for survivors has been focused on the following collapsed and flattened buildings:   Pyne Gould, CTV, Press, Cathedral and the Smith City car park.

Families and friends of trapped victims were in agonising situation as they wait for news about the fate of their loved ones.  Last night, several text messages were sent by trapped victims to communicate to their loved and it has been very heartbreaking as the messages gradually stopped.  Japanese and Filipino students were among those believed to be under the rubble of a crumpled college.

Interviewed survivors recalled their horrible experience when all of a sudden they felt the building swaying and shaking similar to a merry-go-round.  As the floors and ceilings started to fall, they prepared themselves to be buried alive.

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