Christchurch is a beautiful city in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's south island. Today it was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale. This follows a stronger, but less damaging earthquake (centred further away from the city) in September last year. Reports are coming in of 65 people dead with possibly hundreds still trapped in collapsed buildings as evening falls, while much of the city remains without power. The iconic spire of Christchurch Cathedral (pictured) has fallen. I know I have readers in NZ, but I'm not sure if any are in Christchurch; in any case, our thoughts are very much with with the people of Christchurch at present and our prayers rise for them (for US readers, New Zealand is to Australia as Canada is to the US, only much closer culturally and through immigration).
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Click on the post title to view a video of the damage.
Eye-witness account reported here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/23/3146815.htm
Death toll now at 75. A large aftershock was reported this afternoon about 3pm Christchurch time.
Up to 120 bodies are believed to be still in the Canterbury TV station building in Christchurch. Australian search and rescue/recover teams arrived yesterday and within two hours they were searching buildings. A member of a former parish of mine who is a fireman with extra s & r training is serving in that group.
Update II, 24.02.2011
226 confirmed or presumed dead.
Earthquake Survivors Plagued With Guilt:
2 minutes' silence observed in NZ & Australia in memory of victims.
Recovery operations continue with international help. 200+ confirmed dead.
NZ Prime Minister John Key foreshadows an inquiry into responses to the Sept 2010'quake and how they may have left two buildings particularly exposed to subsequent 'quakes. Most of the 200+ dead in this quake lost their lives in two multi-storey buildings.
Update 02.02.2011: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/02/3153463.htm