65 dead and 200 trapped in Christchurch quake

New Zealand Herald.

Rescue workers on the collapsed Pyne Gould Guiness Building in central Christchurch. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Rescue workers on the collapsed Pyne Gould Guiness Building in central Christchurch. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key has told reporters that the death toll from today’s magnitude 6.3 earthquake stands at 65, and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said it could quite possibly double. …. TVNZ reports up to 200 people remained trapped in damaged buildings……..

The earthquake shook the city at 12.51pm while streets were crowed with shoppers and office workers. It was not as powerful as the 7.3 that struck in early morning hours of 4 September last year but was much shallower, leading to greater damage.

Scientists put the epicentre at 10km southeast of the city – apparently in the middle of the harbour at Lyttelton, the city’s coastal port – at a depth of only 5km. .. Christchurch has suffered a long series of after shocks following last year’s quake and they continued after the big one today. One tremor of 5.7 occurred five minutes after the main shock and there was another of 5.5 at 2.50pm.

Late in the afternoon after shocks were still occurring in the magnitude 4 range on the Richter Scale. The city’s iconic cathedral in the central square survived September without little damage but its spire fell today and the rest of the building was badly damaged. Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said the damage was much more severe than in the great 7.1 quake almost six months ago.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10708043

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