New Zealand rescue teams worked under search lights early Wednesday to find scores of people trapped under collapsed buildings after an earthquake struck the country’s second-biggest city of Christchurch, killing at least 65 people, Reuters.com reported.
About 120 survivors have already been rescued from the rubble, but the death toll is expected to rise following the second strong quake to hit the city of almost 400,000 people in five months.
“We may well be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day…The death toll I have at the moment is 65 and that may rise,” said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who had flown to his home town of Christchurch, where he still has family.
Tuesday’s 6.3 magnitude quake struck at lunchtime, when streets and shops thronged with people and offices were still occupied. It was New Zealand’s most deadly natural disaster for 80 years.
According to a Malaysian student who was in Christchurch, “it sounds like the place has been bombed and we are in a war zone,” said Abullah Mohd Nawi, according to the Malaysian National News Agency. “”To get to Victoria Square, we have to wade through sewage water
flowing from burst pipes and walk barefoot and in the process, sustain
bruises…it was really tormenting,” said the doctoral student of Canterbury University.