Christchurch quake horror

Rescuers
are working non-stop to reach scores of people trapped under rubble after a
6.3-magnitude earthquake which killed at least 65 people.

Christchurch
Mayor Bob Parker says more than 100 people are feared buried in collapsed
buildings in Christchurch.

The
disaster struck at a shallow depth of 3.1 miles on Tuesday lunchtime when
Christchurch was at its busiest.

It
is the South Island city’s second quake in six months, and the country’s worst
natural disaster in 80 years.

The
mayor has declared a state of emergency and ordered the city centre’s
evacuation.

On
a cold and wet night, emergency teams have been toiling under floodlights to
reach survivors, as relatives keep vigil outside.

Rescue
teams with sniffer dogs have been fanning out across Christchurch.

A
series of aftershocks, some as big as magnitude 5, have rattled the stricken
city of nearly 400,000 people.

New
Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who held an emergency cabinet meeting before
heading to the disaster zone, said: “We paid a very heavy price here. We
could be looking down the barrel at New Zealand’s darkest day.”

The
military has been deployed to help the rescue effort, and the government has
accepted an offer of specialist help from Australia.

The
quake caused some 30m tons of ice to shear away from New Zealand’s biggest
glacier.

Witnesses
say massive icebergs formed when the Tasman Glacier in Aoraki/Mount Cook National
Park broke, creating huge waves.

The
damage is thought to be far worse than after the 7.1-magnitude quake on 4
September, which left two people seriously injured but no fatalities.

The
epicentre of that quake, which occurred in the middle of the night, was further
away from the city and deeper underground.

Tuesday’s
was the country’s worst natural disaster since a 1931 quake in the Hawke’s Bay
on the North Island which killed 256 people.

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Victims included people crushed in vehicles by falling buildings
Photo: BBC News