Entries in Christchurch (10)


Tremors Rock Quake-Ravaged New Zealand City

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Two earthquakes rocked Christchurch, New Zealand Monday, nearly four months after a 6.3 magnitude tremor struck the city, killing close to 200 people and destroying tens of thousands of homes.

The first quake hit six miles from Christchurch and measured 4.6 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  A second, 6.0-magnitude tremor then struck eight miles from the city just over an hour later.

Shopping centers, office buildings and the city's airport were evacuated as a result of the quakes, the BBC said.  No injuries have been reported.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told the BBC that the tremors "caused a significant amount of damage in the central city area which has basically been closed to the public for some time."

He added that "The city has again lost water and power to a number of areas."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prince William Addresses New Zealand Earthquake Survivors

Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Tens of thousands of people gathered together Friday in Hagley Park in Christchurch where Prince William paid tribute to the victims of one of New Zealand's most destructive earthquakes. In his speech at the memorial service, the prince told the crowd they were "an inspiration to all people."

"I say it to you now, kia kaha, be strong," he said.

Prince William has seen firsthand the damage the earthquake caused in Christchurch, spending his tour visiting sites around the city and surrounding suburbs and thanking rescue workers.

"My grandmother once said that grief is the price we pay for love," Prince William said at the memorial service. "Here today we love and we grieve."

Before the prince spoke, the crowd watched large screens in silence as a video showed previously unseen footage of the devastated downtown area. Nearly a month after the quake, no one is allowed to enter downtown, which they now call the red zone.

The prince also sent his prayers to Japan, following last week's massive earthquake and tsunami, telling those gathered that "this community more than any other in the world can appreciate the full horror of what is unfolding in Japan."

Prince William is now going to Australia to meet with families and survivors of the major floods in Queensland and Victoria.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prince William Visits Quake-Hit Christchurch

Martin Hunter/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Showing his solidarity with the people of New Zealand, Britain's Prince William toured the quake-hit city of Christchurch, which was shaken just under a month ago.    

The soon-to-be-married prince was determined to work the trip into his tight schedule. Christchurch is a city he's been to before and knows well.

"For him to come and recognize us especially as the front-line service crews that had to go out there and rescue those people. Yeah, it's a great morale boost for all the boys here," says fire chief Paul Rodwell. But not all the New Zealand rescue crews could be on hand to meet him as many are away in Japan right now helping out there.

At times, the prince looked lost for words as he took in the scale of the damage.

William then travelled to the west coast of the south island and met with families of the 29 men who died in a coal mine explosion in November.

Over the weekend he'll visit the Australian states of Queensland and Victoria, that were hit earlier this year by the country's worst flooding in decades.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Zealand Memorial Service Announced for Quake Victims

Martin Hunter/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- A national memorial service will be held in New Zealand on March 18 to remember those killed in the earthquake that rocked Christchurch last month, Prime Minister John Key announced Monday.

The service will be held at North Hagley Park in Christchurch.  The government is also expected to introduce legislation to make the date a provincial public holiday in Canterbury.

"The service will allow people the chance to reflect on the terrible loss of life suffered as a result of the earthquake and the huge impact it has had on our second-largest city," Key said.  This is an opportunity for Christchurch to mourn together.  It will also be a chance to celebrate the lives of those who have been lost."

The 6.3 magnitude quake has claimed the lives of 166 so far but officials believe the death toll will rise to more than 200 as recovery efforts continue.

Key also said on Monday that an estimated 100,000 homes were damaged in the Feb. 22 earthquake and up to 10,000 others would have to be demolished because they were beyond repair.

"There will be some homes that can not be rebuilt and, as a result of the second earthquake, potentially, some sections and some areas of Christchurch which will need to be abandoned," Key said.

"We will have to present other alternatives for people to live in because the land has been so badly damaged we can't fix it, certainly not in a reasonable timeframe," he added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rescue Efforts End in New Zealand; Memorial Service Planned for Quake Victims

Photo Courtesy - Martin Hunter/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Search and rescue teams looking for possible survivors of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked Christchurch, New Zealand last week will now shift their focus to recovery as the chances of finding someone alive have diminished, officials announced Thursday.

"We now face the reality that there is no chance that anyone could have survived this long, and efforts have to shift to the recovery of loved ones and their return to their families," Civil Defence Emergency Management National Controller John Hamilton said.  "As time has gone on, the chance of finding someone alive has diminished and, sadly, there becomes a point where the response effort shifts in focus from rescue to body recovery.  We have now reached that point."

Since the Feb. 22 earthquake, 60 people have been rescued from the wreckage, Hamilton said, but several dozen still remain missing.  The official death toll has now climbed to 161, but officials believe that number can go as high as 240 as more bodies are recovered from the rubble.

Following the announcement that rescue efforts will be converted to a recovery operation, Prime Minister John Key also said Thursday that a national memorial service will be held for victims of the quake in the upcoming weeks.

"At an appropriate time in the coming weeks we will hold a national memorial service in Christchurch to honour those who have died... but today is a day when we as a nation, along with our many friends around the world, mark with a heavy heart and great sadness this moment of unbearable loss for the many families involved," Key said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Zealand Holds Moment of Silence for Quake Victims

Photo Courtesy - Martin Hunter/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- New Zealand fell silent for two minutes Tuesday as mourners across the country remembered the earthquake that struck Christchurch exactly one week before.

The moment of silence began at 12:51 p.m. -- the precise time the 6.3 magnitude quake hit, causing widespread damage and killing 155 people, according to the latest police statement.  Dozens of others are still believed to be missing.

Estimates show the cost to repair all the destruction the quake and its several aftershocks left behind could run up to $15 billion.

On another note, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced a relief package Monday to provide financial assistance to employees whose jobs were affected by the quake.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Zealand Earthquake: Death Toll Reaches 145

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The death toll continues to rise in New Zealand, as search and rescue operations continue following the Christchurch earthquake.

The death toll stood at 145 on Saturday, and more than 200 people were still reported missing as emergency crews continued to sift through rubble armed with flashlights and other equipment. The last survivor of Tuesday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake was found on Wednesday, and the lull in rescues seems to be accompanied by dwindling hope that those still missing will be found alive. Nationals from more than 20 countries are reported to be among the missing.
One site feared to be a mass burial ground is the crumbled CTV building, where authorities fear up to 120 people are dead. On Saturday, crews worked to stabilize the area around the Hotel Grand Chancellor to begin searching the for victims. Officials say a third of the buildings in central Christchurch may have to be demolished due to damage sustained by the earthquake, which New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said “may be New Zealand's single most tragic event.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Survivor Pulled from New Zealand Rubble; Hundreds Still Missing

Photo Courtesy - Martin Hunter/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Rescue workers in New Zealand's earthquake-ravaged city of Christchurch got a rare ray of hope Wednesday when they successfully pulled a woman from the rubble, more than 24 hours after a 6.3 magnitude tremor shook the city.

Ann Bodkin took cover under her desk when the earthquake struck, but became trapped inside the Pyne Gould Corp. building in the center of Christchurch. Rescue crews greeted her with applause, as they brought her down to safety -- slightly sore, but in good spirits.

"In the midst of what is by and large one of the bleakest days in the story of our city, the sun came out at the same moment as they removed Ann from that building," Mayor Bob Parker said.

That welcome news came after a long, and heartbreaking day spent searching for survivors. The death toll officially stands at 75, but 300 people are still missing. A large part of the rescue efforts have centered around the Canterbury TV building where about 100 people are feared dead.

Crews called off rescue operations after saying they were "100 percent certain" there were no survivors trapped in the rubble.

"The sad fact is that we're removing resources from this site to other sites where there is a high chance of survivability," Police Operations Commander Inspector Dave Lawry said. "My heart goes out to those families…knowing that some of their children have probably been killed in this incident."

Among those feared dead are nearly two dozen Japanese teachers and students from a Japanese language school and a study tour agency. They were all enrolled at the King's Education College inside the CTV building. Japanese media reported the students were eating lunch in the cafeteria when the quake hit, and the floor collapsed.

"There was major shaking, and suddenly the floor fell," 19-year-old Kento Okuda, who survived the quake, told Japan's Asahi newspaper. "Everyone around me was saying things like 'it hurts' as they fell downward. And then I realized I was in total darkness with my right leg pinned by something so I couldn't move."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Powerful Earthquake Kills Dozens in New Zealand

Photo Courtesy - Martin Hunter/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- At least 75 people are dead and dozens more injured after a powerful earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch Tuesday.

The 6.3 magnitude quake was very shallow in depth, measuring just 2.5 miles beneath the surface, causing violent shaking and widespread damage.  Video footage showed buildings collapsed, bricks scattered onto streets and roads and sidewalks cracked.

Nearly 200 people are feared trapped in the collapsed structures, according to Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.  Local officials expect the death toll to rise substantially once rescue and recovery operations are fully underway.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday's quake was centered three miles from the city.  Two large aftershocks -- one magnitude 5.6 and another 5.5 -- shook Christchurch within hours of the initial quake.

The latest tremor came just five months after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the same city, causing widespread damage but no deaths.

This time, however, the disaster was far greater, with Prime Minister John Key calling Christchurch "a scene of utter devastation."

Mayor Bob Parker declared a state of emergency shortly after the quake hit and ordered people to evacuate the city center.

Troops were deployed to help trapped victims, the airport was closed, and Christchurch Hospital was briefly evacuated before it was deemed safe for patients to return.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Zealand Rocked by 4.9 Magnitude Earthquake

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- A 4.9 maginitude earthquake rattled Christchurch in New Zealand on Sunday as post-Christmas Day shoppers flocked to the stores.
Masonry fell from buildings and rained down on the streets below. There were no injuries reported.

The shaking, scientists say, was the result of a series of aftershocks from the 7.1 earthquake that rocked the region in September.

"When we had the 7.1, we had very little damage to stock," said Roger Cleave, who works in a local guitar shop. "I think only one guitar fell off the wall and a couple of other items fell over. But this one was a lot more violent and a lot more stuff has fallen off."

Experts warn that aftershocks could continue for some time.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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