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New Zealand’s Darkest Day: Powerful Earthquake Rocks Christchurch

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By HVnews on February 22, 2011

Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest metropolitan area, escaped disaster in September when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked South Island but caused no casualties.

On Tuesday, tragically, the city of 400,000 did not pull off a similar “miracle” when a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the city at 1 pm local time.

At least 65 people are confirmed dead, and more than 100 more are missing, trapped in the rubble of crumbled buildings, many feared dead among the wreckage and carnage of this natural disaster.

Search and rescue teams worked overnight to pull injured victims from fallen buildings, but several aftershocks and cold, wet conditions made the effort difficult. One of those aftershocks caused the spire of the iconic Christchurch Cathedral in the center of the city to come crashing down. Power and water is off, phone lines are down and school are closed.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the death toll could double and urged residents to stay at home, conserve water and stay calm. “We are in the middle of a major disaster on global terms,” he said. “There are people fighting for their lives at the moment but there are also people fighting for them. “We’re in the middle of an extremely serious situation.”

TVNewZealand has live local updates if you want to stay up on the news. They also posted this incredible raw video of the devastation around the city. There’s a particularly scary moment 3:00 in:

Eyewitnesses mark the surreal day:

CBS’ report:

If you want to help, and please do, you can donate to the New Zealand Red Cross here.

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