Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand

(by @matwiseman from Twitter for iPhone 5 hours 28 mins ago)
Per the Washington Post, NZ leader says at least 65 killed in earthquake:

A powerful earthquake slammed New Zealand’s already-bruised city of Christchurch on Tuesday, killing at least 65 people, and sending rescuers scrambling to help people trapped under collapsed buildings.
The 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the country’s second-largest city around lunchtime, collapsing buildings and sending bricks and other heavy debris toppling into busy city streets. It was the second major quake to strike Christchurch in the past five months…
Video footage showed some multi-storey buildings collapsed in on themselves, and others with walls that had collapsed into the streets, strewn with bricks and shattered concrete. Sidewalks and roads were cracked and split, and thousands of dazed, screaming and crying residents wandered through the streets as sirens blared. Groups of people helped victims clutching bleedings wounds, and others were carried to private vehicles in makeshift stretchers fashioned from rugs or bits of debris.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker declared a state of emergency and ordered people to evacuate the city center. Troops were deployed to help people get out and to throw up a security cordon around the stricken area, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said.

From the NYTimes:

… The earthquake hit Christchurch, on the country’s south island, just before 1 p.m. It was the latest in a series of large earthquakes to strike the area in recent months. In September, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck near the city, but caused no casualties because it took place in the early morning when virtually everyone was still at home.
Despite its lower magnitude, the depth and location of the earthquake on Tuesday could make it more damaging…
“It’s a nightmare,” said Kevin Fenaughty of GNS Science, an earth science research institute in New Zealand. “A lot of people were just getting back on their feet after the original quake.”

Best place for donations at the moment is probably the NZ Red Cross.

Anybody who’s got more information, suggestions, etc.?

75 replies
  1. 1

    Massive 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch at 12:51pm NZT
    5k deep, 10k from city centre

    At least 65 dead. Many many more expected.
    A lot of collasped buildings

    In shock.

    Tony in New Zealand

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    @Royston Vasey: Ki o tsukete kudasai for you and your country. I’m thinking chipping in to your national Red Cross is a good call.

  3. 3
    JenJen says:

    As far as information goes, for those of you on Twitter, I recommend following the excellent Steve Herman, VOA’s NE Asia correspondent, who has been providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the NZ quake through his own sources.

    He’s one of my favorite follows on most days, providing much-needed coverage of a region we hear far too little about, but today, he’s going above and beyond.

    @Royston Vasey: Take care and be safe, Tony, and I hope so much that any friends or family of yours in Christchurch are all right. Thinking of New Zealanders tonight.

  4. 4
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Royston Vasey: Stay safe.

  5. 5
    CaseyL says:

    I was just there last two months ago, and the news is heartbreaking.

    Christchurch is one of the sweetest, most quaint cities ever, with its tiny “Avon River” and more-English-than-England culture. The people are totally kind and friendly, and Cathedral Square is – was – beautiful. I’m also terribly worried about the little seaside town of Lyttleton, also picture postcard quaint and perfect, and apparently the epicenter of this quake. Two massive quakes within 6 months of each other is cosmically unfair, and I don’t know how they’re going to cope.

  6. 6

    54 pics of devestation in christchurch

    Way worse than the september quake (which was a 7.1!!)

    State Of Emergency declared

    Civil Defense website (loads of details)

    Tony In New Zealand

  7. 7

    @CaseyL: Cathedral square badly damaged. People feared dead inside as spire collasped in on the building.

    roads turned into rivers.

    Whole buildings flattened

  8. 8
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Royston Vasey: Please say safe. This is heartbreaking.

  9. 9

    @JenJen: I am out of the city, but have friends and relatives there. They have reported safe, but very very scared.

    My ex partner has house which is very badly damaged, roof in, water everywhere. She is OK, as is Finn the cat that could give Tunch a run for its money when it comes to weight!

    Many many broken pipes all around city.

    What the catherdral now looks like

    Tony in NZ

  10. 10
    Lyn says:

    We felt it here in Dunedin, quite strongly, and we’re 5 hours south. I have some friends who live near the epicentre that I haven’t heard from. 65 dead is just the start, I’m afraid.

    Please do consider donating via the Red Cross link. This is an utterly devastating event.


  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    All y’all with Facebook pages, please take that Red Cross link and feel free to spread it around. The more voices we can get helping on this the better it will be.

  12. 12


    Lyttleton was worn the brunt of the quake. The epicentre was right underneath at 5k depth

    60% of the main street is gone. Flattened.

    Tunnel is closed. NZ navy ship happened to be in port, so they are helping.

    Tony in NZ

  13. 13
    CaseyL says:

    @Royston Vasey: Yes; I saw the photos. Gut-wrenching; my heart goes out to everyone in NZ. Where in NZ are you?

    ETA: Just saw your report on Lyttleton. Words fail completely.

  14. 14

    27 after shocks so far. including a bunch over 5.0 on the scale

    Prime Minister John Key says “may well be New Zealand’s darkest day”.

    Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says up to 25 buildings of significant size in the city were probably damaged beyond repair.

    Youtube vid taken seconds after quake at Sumner.
    Huge rock slide crushes a Returned Services Assc building (ex servicemen)

    Tony in NZ

  15. 15

    @CaseyL: I’m currently in Wellington – which is built on top of two boundary plates – and a massive fault line!

    Airport is closed. Power is off to around 80% of city

  16. 16
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Lyn: Lyn, you stay safe, too. I hope you hear from your friends.

    ETA: Crap. The Red Cross site is not loading. I bet the server can’t handle the traffic.

  17. 17

    @Lyn: Hi Lyn. Its going to get a lot lot worse I’m afraid.

    Lost contact with mother in law. Going to try to make phone calls, but hard to get through. Txt messages are going unanswered

  18. 18

    @asiangrrlMN: Thanks for your kind comments.


  19. 19
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Royston Vasey: If we can’t get through to the Red Cross, is there another site we can visit to make donations? (Hope you locate your MIL).

  20. 20

    Christchurch Just had another 4.6 about 15mins ago

    Going to be a sleepless night in the city. Many hotels are closed as they are damaged

  21. 21
    CaseyL says:

    @Royston Vasey: Holy hell, Wellington, too? I have friends there! And my brother lives in Dunedin, where they also felt the quake but so far I haven’t heard of any damage.

    Lyn and Tony – thank you for the updates, and for the love of god: stay safe; and our hopes that your friends and family are safe, too!

  22. 22
    Martin says:

    That’s a lot of damage for a 6.3. The engineers are going to rewrite some books and a shitload of building codes from this one. I’m simply stunned that those photos are from a 6.3 – and I’m 4 miles from a 8.0 capable faultline.

    We’ve got friends in Christchurch. I hope they’re okay.

    Everyone in NZ stay safe. Check in with your neighbors. Even if they’re fine, they may have relatives they need to rush off to help and pets need feeding, trash taken out. Pull together.

    (And I suspect from those photos that 65 is just a start, I’m afraid.)

  23. 23
    Mary G says:

    So awful. I have sent a little money to the Red Cross, once I dug out a credit card that worked. I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, doubt I ever will, but you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. 24
    Martin says:

    @Royston Vasey: That’s going to go on for about 2 days, most likely. And don’t be surprised if there are some 5.x size aftershocks in there. Anyone doing S&R needs to be VERY aware.

    And everyone else should recheck their gas and water lines after the aftershocks. Sometimes the main one just softens things up for the smaller aftershocks to do the real damage.

  25. 25

    @asiangrrlMN: This is from the appeal from the 7.1 quake in September:
    Go the their websites first.

    Donate online at
    By Post: The Salvation Army , PO Box 27 001 Marion Square, Wellington 6141, New Zealand .
    Please specify that your donation is for the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.

    ASB Bank Donations
    Account details are: Canterbury Earthquake Appeal 2010, 12-3192-0015998-01

    ANZ and National Bank branches nationwide.
    ANZ branch (account number: 01-1839-0188939-00) or at any National Bank (account number: 06-0869-0548507-00).

    The account number is 38-9009-0759479-00 and the account name is Red Cross.

    BNZ Donations can be made at any BNZ branch or online to:
    Canterbury Mayoral Relief Fund Appeal Account: 02-0800-0840040-000
    BNZ Salvation Army Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Account: 02-0500-0989994-000
    BNZ Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Account:


  26. 26
    Mary G says:

    It was a very shallow quake which makes a big difference in amount of damage.

  27. 27

    @CaseyL: No! Wellington is safe! Only quakes in christchurch (today)

  28. 28
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Royston Vasey: Thanks, Tony. I’m going to post it to my FB wall, too. The Salvation Army site is up and running.

  29. 29
    Geoduck says:

    I read elsewhere that a lot of the buildings in Christchurch were made of brick and constructed long before modern anti-earthquake standards. No idea how true this is..

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    @Geoduck: That would appear to be somewhat true from the photos. But some of those destroyed buildings are relatively modern and NZ has quite good building codes. This wasn’t a lightweight quake.

  31. 31

    @Geoduck: Its quite true. They only discovered there was a fault line there last September! Christchurch NEVER used have earthquakes! They reckon it must of been thousands of years since last one.

    A lot of modern buildings collasped, as they were built with no much quake proofing stuff. ChCh NEVER had earthquakes!!

    Now, they’ve had over 4,000 since September

    Feck! Now a 5.0 in Lyttleton about 15mins ago

  32. 32
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Martin: It’s not just the Richter scale value that matters, it’s the depth. This was a very shallow quake. New Zealand uses the Mercalli scale to give a better idea of damage. God, this looks like at least an 8, probably a 9.

    I’m going to Red Cross Canada in the morning, when they should have the right streams set up. I’m so horrified, but feel I can do nothing else useful from out here.

  33. 33
    CaseyL says:

    @Yutsano: Excellent idea, and I have done so.

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    @Geoduck: My bet is they get any highways repaired before the Seattle viaduct gets replaced.

    Good luck to the kiwis.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    PPOG Penguin says:

    @asiangrrlMN: As well as Tony’s links at 25, is also taking donations, to be passed on to the official fund created by the ChCh authorities (or split between the Red Cross and the Salvation Army in the unlikely event that the authorities don’t create a fund).

  37. 37

    @Comrade Mary: I’ve never used that scale myself, but I’d say it was a MN9.

    Historic Time Ball building in Lyttleton has major damage, whole side of building collasped
    This is what it looked like BEFORE today:

  38. 38
    CaseyL says:

    @Royston Vasey: Oh, damn. Damn damn damn.

  39. 39
    roshan says:

    A lot more info here. (includes helplines, damage estimates, current situation updates, videos, photos, shelter info, missing person search etc.)

  40. 40
    Shadow's Mom says:

    I’ve friends living in Wellington (not affected by the quake). Dan’s very active on Twitter and I’ve already confirmed they are alright. I’ve put out a message to him asking what we can do and to whom we can give. Suggested that he post here to respond.

  41. 41
    Lyn says:

    @Royston Vesey: I am so sad to hear about the Time Ball. I loved our visit to Lyttleton. My friends live in Sumner, which was where the enormous boulders came down. They were probably working in town then, though.

    It will be a long night for folks in Christchurch.


  42. 42
    Royston Vasey says:

    @Lyn: And its raining in the city now. Many many tourists are in a tent/plastic sheet city in the central park.

    Just seen Sumner from the air on TV – plenty of landslides.

    Airport to open at 8am NZT for Domestic flights tmrw
    Decision for Intl flights to be made around 12pm NZT 23/feb/11

    It is currently 8.31pm NZT 22/feb/11

  43. 43
    CaseyL says:

    Tony – OK, but where are ChCh’s residents sleeping?

    Are the tourists sleeping outdoors because no hotel is considered safe now, or were specific hotels damaged? Any news about the Ibis Hotel on Hereford Street? That’s where we stayed in Christchurch. I’ve seen photos that *might* be Hereford and *might* be the hotel, but with all the destruction and dust can’t be sure.

    I’ve heard from my brother in Dunedin, who reassured me that he’s ok.

  44. 44

    @CaseyL: The entire central city has been evacuated. No central city hotels are open.

    There was major damage around Hereford Street, but I can’t say if the Ibis was damaged.

    CTV Building (Canterbury TV) on Madras Street is just around from Hereford Street. It has collasped, maybe 50 people still inside.


  45. 45

    Canterbury Earthquake
    Response information about the 22nd February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, New Zealand

    GIS Incident Map


  46. 46
    New Zealand says:

    Here you can see live streaming of the news and updates

  47. 47

    @Royston Vasey: Just watched unedited coverage of massive rescue effort going on at CTV building.

    During the earthquake 30 million tonnes of ice fell loose from Tasman Glacier at Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

    Passengers of two explorer boats were hit with waves of up to 3.5 metres as the ice crashed into Terminal Lake under the Tasman Glacier at the mountain.

    Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village tourism manager Denis Callesen said huge icebergs formed in the lake, which were then rocked by massive waves for 30 minutes.

  48. 48
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @PPOG Penguin:

    Thanks to both of you. I added both links to my FB wall.

  49. 49
    guachi says:

    My sister lives in Christchurch and my mother is currently visiting. I arrived home from work and my aunt had left a message saying my sister and mother were ok (but no mention of what happened).

    My first thought was “ANOTHER earthquake??”

    So if any of you do donate to the NZ Red Cross, know that you are helping the hometown of a relative of a BJ reader!

  50. 50

    Just got off the phone to Christchurch.

    Power still out, pitch black, raining, animals going crazy.
    Finn The Cat is besides himself.

    Massive liquefaction in the area, flooding.
    No water, no toilets.

    Tony in NZ

    BREAKING: TV says UNCONFIRMED reports of up to 200-400 deaths

  51. 51

    Radio New Zealand (National Radio)
    International Stream:

    I’m off for a sleep.

    Tony in NZ

  52. 52
    Mike says:

    There are going to be lot more than 65 dead once the recovery is completed, rumours are going around of 200-400 dead.

  53. 53

    Air New Zealand Update

    All available fares on Air New Zealand domestic services from any point on the domestic network to/from Christchurch for booking and travel through until 8am NZT Friday morning are available for NZD$50 one way. These can be booked via the Air New Zealand website and call centre.

    In addition, Air New Zealand will operate a return Auckland-Christchurch service tomorrow utilising a Boeing 747-400, with seats available at the NZD$50 fare.

    Times for the special additional flights are as follows:

    Depart Auckland 10:30, arrive Christchurch 11:50
    Depart Christchurch 13:20, arrive Auckland 14:50

  54. 54
    Annamal says:

    Christchurch office of my work reported everyone ok (which was is a huge relief, the ceiling fell in in of the September quakes).

    A lot of my workmates already had damaged homes, some will have lost them completely.

    Lot of useful local links off this post:

  55. 55
    Mike says:

    This will probably end up being the biggest natural disaster in NZ history, both in terms of cost and lives lost.
    And this is pretty scary
    Quake shakes 30m tonnes of ice off glacier

  56. 56
    Annamal says:

    More links on how to donate money here:

  57. 57
    newsouthzach says:

    Passengers of two explorer boats were hit with waves of up to 3.5 metres as the ice crashed into Terminal Lake under the Tasman Glacier at the mountain.

    Just FYI, these are tourist boats — I was actually on one of them just about a week ago for a tour of the glacier and its lake. They’re rigid inflatables, hold about 15 people, and go in a lake where the water is literally freezing cold: maybe 35 F at the surface, and about 32.1 once you get a foot or two down. I would not want to be on one of them in 3.5 meter seas, and I’d be shocked if there weren’t at least a few cases of hypothermia and other associated injuries from the cold water.

    As for Christchurch, what is there to say? I was there just before Aoraki/Mt. Cook and was impressed by how little visible damage there was from the September quake — that’s out the window now. Sounds like Lyttleton had it even worse… best one can do is give to the NZ Red Cross and hope for the best.

  58. 58
    Kadin says:

    A friend of mine confirms that there is an Air Force Orion “doing laps over the city pulling sweet manoeuvres”. He doesn’t seem to be too shaken up (except in a literal sense, I suppose).

  59. 59
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Christchurch is where the International Antartic Centre is, which is, as I understood it, the front door to every Antartic post out there. Of course it’s not impossible to bypass Christchurch to get stuff to the Antartic, but I wonder if this is another impact of this quake.

  60. 60
    Annamal says:

    Power is apparently back up

    33 aftershocks…

    Good on Air NZ, really nice gesture (as is the BNZ donating $1 million)

  61. 61
    stuckinred says:

    I got word through facebook that my young friend who is working as a logger is safe.

  62. 62
    tutopod says:

    oh my god, i’am feel sorry to hear that, hope the poeple had a strong heart and no more victims found.

  63. 63
    thalarctos says:

    @Yutsano: Done. Thank you.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @stuckinred: Glad to hear that.

  65. 65
    Michael says:

    Looks like the damage in Port au Prince.

    When I surfed the wingnut web after that Haiti disaster, the extent of the collapse was blamed on shoddy construction done by melanin-enhanced folks.

    I wonder how they’re going to find a way to blame these collapses on liberals or people of color?

  66. 66

    […] "Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand" and related posts ( […]

  67. 67
    Lisa Albrink says:

    Hopefully my dear friends in Redwood- Christchurch will be fine… I will pray for all you out there!
    Lisa, Canada

  68. 68
    ErikaF says:

    Thanks for the link – I’ve put it on my FB wall. I was there last year (almost to the day) and loved Christchurch! All kiwis and temporary kiwis take care and hope all friends are safe.

    Erika, Texas

  69. 69
    Jason says:

    This is devastating. Many people don’t realize that the aftershock is more powerful than the first quake. Anyone who is from New Zealand; stay safe.

  70. 70

    @Joseph Nobles: The United States Antartic Program (USAP)has a base at Christchurch Airport – opp. the Antartic Centre.

    Director of Civil Defence John Hamilton says the number of confirmed dead in the earthquake was 32 not 65 as John Key said last night.

    Mr Hamilton says fatalities are only officially confirmed once bodies have been identified and their next of kin informed.

    He says eight people were rescued from the Pyne Gould building and three from the CTV building overnight.Both of these buildings were flattened.

    Tony in NZ

  71. 71

    @Michael: Maybe they’ll blame the whole of ‘liberal’ New Zealand. We are a socially driven (not Socia-list!) country. We believe in fairness across the board.

    We have LGBT rights, and even had the worlds first transgender MP!, plus legal prostitution (but not that its in yer face though). I can imagine some saying it was an act of Beiber, as a terrible wrathful revenge.

    Yeah Right.

  72. 72

    I have no blog site, and my twitter skillz are pretty low, so’ll post here – makes me feel better.

    The rejuvenated AMI Rugby stadium opened in January last year. It was playing host to the US-NZ 2011 Partnership Forum when the quake struck. All delegates were reported safe.

    A US group of 43 government, business and community leaders was attending the forum, which began on Monday and was due to end last night.

  73. 73
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:


    When I surfed the wingnut web after that Haiti disaster, the extent of the collapse was blamed on shoddy construction done by melanin-enhanced folks.

    I wonder how they’re going to find a way to blame these collapses on liberals or people of color?

    They’re not.

    NZ earthquake codes are among the best in the world, sorta like those of Japan, for the obvious reason that we expect them to be tested. If the buildings fall down, it’s because it was a big quake, not because of bad design.

    And the “people of color” are called the Maori, the tangata whenua. Try blaming this on them and you’d get your ass handed to you by both them *and* the Pakeha.

  74. 74

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: Totally agreed with that statement!


    Red Cross has set up a dedicated telephone number for those people concerned about the whereabouts of friends and family missing following yesterday’s Christchurch earthquake.

    Callers to the line will be asked to provide details of those missing, including the location they were thought to be at the time of the earthquake, police said in a statement. Red Cross will be able to say if they have registered with Civil Defence.

    The number to contact is 0800 RED CROSS (0800 733 276).

    People enquiring from outside New Zealand should call +64 7 850 2199.

    T in NZ

  75. 75
    Dogsbody says:

    24 Hours after the disaster and, on all the sites I visit, this is still the only post that I’ve found. Sad.

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