New Zealand quake death toll at 75, state of emergency declared

23 February 2011 03:34  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--New Zealand has declared a national state of emergency on Wednesday, following a major earthquake that killed 75 people in Christchurch, the country’s Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) said.

“The declaration … highlights the seriousness of the situation,” the ministry said in a statement.

Of the 75 killed, 55 had been identified, it said.

As of 14:00 hours New Zealand time on Wednesday (01:00 GMT), 30 aftershocks with a magnitude of 4 to 6 and a number of smaller ones were felt in Christchurch, after Tuesday’s 6.3-magnitude quake that shook the city located in the southern part of the country, the ministry said.

The quake, which occurred “within 10km of the city and at a shallow depth of 5km during the middle of a working day, has resulted in destruction, injuries and deaths”, according to a separate statement from GeoNet, which monitors geological activities in New Zealand.

MCDEM reported “considerable damage” to the central business district of Christchurch and in Lyttleton, with the extent of the damage still being assessed.

“Aftershocks are expected to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued disruption to power, telecommunications and essential services,” the ministry said.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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