New Zealand Earthquake Update

Christchurch was struck by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake at lunchtime yesterday, which has left large parts of the 350,000 strong city in ruins, with the worst hit areas now under strict curfew.The death toll from Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch has risen to 75 confirmed dead and over 300 still unaccounted for. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has officially declared a state of emergency in the country.

48 people have been pulled out alive so far. With one woman rescued after being trapped for over 24 hours. Emergency workers managed to re-unite Ms. Ann Bodkin with her husband. Ms Bodkin was trapped under the twisted metal and concrete remains of the Pyne Gould Guinness building. Rescue workers painstakingly worked to have Ms Bodkin released, which coincidentally occurred as sunlight began streaming through Christchurch’s normally drab weather.

Rescue efforts at the Canterbury Television office block have been abandoned which was reported to have had as many as 100 people trapped inside. Rescue workers came to the heart breaking conclusion that they now need to concentrate their efforts in areas where it was more likely they would find survivors.

The mayor of Christchurch said that as many as 120 people have been rescued since Tuesday, and was optimistic over the prospects of the 300 still unaccounted.

The Red Cross has opened one evacuation centre for approximately 2,000 people and more temporary accommodation is likely to be needed. The organisation has started helping people reach their loved ones through the restoring family links service and a telecommunications team is being deployed to Christchurch with the service being operational tomorrow morning.

Teams from Australia, Japan, the United States, Britain, Singapore and Taiwan are joining hundreds of local rescuers digging through the rubble in Christchurch, equipped with sniffer dogs and cutting-edge technology, rushing to help New Zealand in its hour of need.

Australia’s foreign minister Kevin Rudd confirmed that the country has sent a 75 strong search and rescue team which has either arrived or due shortly in Christchurch. The Australian Federal Government will make a charity donation of $5 million to the New Zealand Red Cross earthquake appeal, Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

How You Can Help

  • The New Zealand Red Cross has launched a desperate appeal for financial assistance to help deal with this terrible disaster as it seeks to provide first aid assistance, and distribute food and blankets to those most acutely affected by the earthquake.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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