A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has hit the Canterbury area of New Zealand’s South Island. The quake, approximately 5km underground and located 10km south east of the city has caused wide spread damage, bursting sewage lines, damaging buildings and homes, cutting power and telephone lines to many areas of the city. The mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, has declared a state of emergency.
Red Cross Christchurch and Timaru teams are on the ground working now, with Nelson and Blenheim teams on their way. Dunedin, Queenstown, Invercargill and West Coast teams are all due to arrive tomorrow morning to assist. They are working with Civil Defence, New Zealand Police, the local councils and agencies to assess the needs and how Red Cross can best assist.
Once the emergency management response has been determined the Red Cross will assess the situation closely and provide more information.
65 people are reported to have died in the quake, thought to be the deadliest in over 80 years, whilst it is feared that a further 200 people are trapped in rubble of fallen buildings.
Anyone in Ireland looking to contact relatives in the affected area should contact Jennifer Wilson in the Irish Red Cross - firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 642 4600.