Christchurch 2011 earthquake - day 2 - Rescue efforts are continuing to save peoples lives (part 4)

This is the 4th part of our extensive reporting which started only a couple of minutes after the earth below Christchurch started to shake. Click here for the overview of the many articles (pictures, videos, stories on this earthquake)

Bended rails for about 1 m displacement on the fault line. Picture courtesy - Website

UPDATE 16:25 UTC : Specialized search and rescue teams from all over the world are going to Christchurch. Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed 63 people would arrive today from Japan and the UK, along with 80 from the USA. Teams already here include 87 search and rescue workers from Singapore, 24 from Taiwan and nearly 400 from Australia.

UPDATE 15:13 UTC : Work resumes at CTV building
Urban Search and Rescue teams and the Fire Service resumed work at the collapsed CTV building last night some hours after safety risks forced the temporary suspension of rescue efforts. Police received advice from USAR yesterday (Wednesday, 23 February) that the damage caused to the building meant the likelihood of any survivors was low. However, search and rescue operations continued until approx 1.30pm when safety risks with the Grand Chancellor Hotel became apparent and teams had to pull out.
Later in the evening teams were able to resume work on the site. The work is a recovery operation as more survivors are not expected, but the teams always remain hopeful.

UPDATE 14:48 UTC : James Daniell CATDAT is estimating that the cost of the Christchurch earthquake will land in a damage fork of $10 billion-$20 billion, as it is too soon to make a more precise estimate.

UPDATE 14:22 UTC is supporting this initiative from mayor Parker of Christchurch.
Mayoral fund has been set up for kind donations to the citizens of Christchurch
following the 22 February 2011 earthquake. Donations can be provided using the following BNZ bank account: 02-0800-084958-000

UPDATE 14:15 UTC : A curfew is in place in the Central Business District (also called CBD) until 6.30am on Thursday.

UPDATE 14:10 UTC : The GRAND CHANCELLOR hotel in the Christchurch city center is very unstable. The hotel did start to lean in a dangerous angle.  The fear of Civil Defense services is that the hotel could collapse along with a strong aftershock, creating a mini earthquake and pulling a number of other building also to the ground.
Structural engineers are concluding that the building is irreparable and if it does not come down it will have to be demolished.

UPDATE 13:04 UTC : We just published an interesting "aftershocks" article, especially for people living in the quake area. Keep the good news in mind - the magnitude is considerably lower and the frequency of the stronger shocks is decreasing.

The impressive list of aftershocks

UPDATE 12:07 UTC : CTV building (Christchurch Regional TV offices)  rescue efforts have been stopped,  because after careful examining  no signs of live have been found in the last 7 to 8 hours. Rescue forces will concentrate on other buildings where they have proof that lives could be saved.

UPDATE 12:07 UTC : Not a lot new information at the moment, because it is in the middle of the New Zealand night. Rescue operations are continuing.

UPDATE 12:06 UTC : We are preparing an article on the many aftershocks in and around Christchurch - The number will be shocking.

UPDATE 10:23 UTC : Air New Zealand and Qantas are flying tourists, business people and locals who want to escape the earthquake zone to Wellington and Auckland.

UPDATE 10:27 UTC : 400 armed forces personnel are helping in different relief and guarding actions.

UPDATE 10:23 UTC : Official death toll still stands on 75 fatalities (65 identified) and 300 missing persons. A new press conference with updated numbers will take place in the New Zealand morning hours.

UPDATE 10:23 UTC : 6 people have been arrested so far for looting

UPDATE 10:22 UTC : The power companies are emphasizing that people in Christchurch who are still cut off of the power should make sure that all appliances are in the OFF position. Returning power can otherwise inflict fire.

UPDATE 10:12 UTC : It can take days or even weeks before the power is restored in some parts of the city. 50% is now restored thanks to the incredible efforts of the power companies.

UPDATE 10:09 UTC : A heartbreaking story is the death of a 9 months old baby who was killed when a TV fell of a cabinet right on top of the baby.

UPDATE 07:25 UTC : The buildings where people are still trapped are as below, and no new news to report as to the death toll. Still 55 confirmed bodies (i.e. those who have been identified) and 20 unconfirmed bodies. However, it is known that there are many more bodies to be found. Please give generously to the official appeals, so that money can be used to rebuild the lives of those affected.

UPDATE 07:23 UTC : JP Morgan has estimated the earthquake will cost $16 billion. This is about on par with the CATDAT estimates of  $10 billion-$20 billion US. Westpac has also predicted that the Reserve Bank will would slash the official cash rate by 50 basis points to 2.5% at its monetary policy statement on March 10, and would not raise the rate again until 2012.

UPDATE 07:19 UTC : A really good site has been recommended to us by Trevor Daniell, showing all the earthquakes to hit the Christchurch region since the 4th September, 2010, with nearly 5000 aftershocks. It is from Paul Nicholls of the University of Canterbury. Please Click Here.

UPDATE 05:24 UTC : The death toll unfortunately stands at 75, with 300+ missing.

The Fire Service has given a breakdown of the situation in various buildings across Christchurch:

There are seven confirmed buildings with persons trapped. These include:

CTV Building - 24 Rescued, 7 deceased, 22+ still missing
PGG Building - 24 Rescued, 7 believed trapped (from dogs barking at human presence).
Christchurch Cathedral - 22 missing, approx 20 dead (expected). Building is dangerous and can not be entered. There will be a review in the morning.
The Press building - 4 rescued ,1 deceased. Probably more also here.
Smith City Car Park - Building dangerous, dogs have not sniffed out any live bodies.
St Asaph/Colombo - 6 confirmed dead from debris collapsed onto two buses
92 - 95 Cashel Street (Bakery) - 3 confirmed dead

Back after a short rest

Please refer to the following sites

Radio New Zealand News
The website of the New Zealand Government

We are back after leaving our readers for a couple of hours sleep in the European time zone of Germany and Belgium. We have been continuously reporting  for more than 24 hours.
We hope our information has given a good overview of the situation in the field.
We hope our readers will remind us as an information source for every strong earthquake in the world.

UPDATE 23:32 UTC :International rescue teams are on their way to New Zealand. They are coming from : United Kingdom, USA, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Australia (we forgot one)

UPDATE 23:13 UTC : 6 people have been found killed in the 2 crashed buses.

UPDATE 23:12 UTC : Help available to Christchurch people Assistance for Cantabrians is available now and all possible help will be offered to those in need says Social Development Minister.
œThe situation is changing, but currently there are two welfare centres which are operating, at Hagley Park and at Burnside High School, says Ms Bennett. Full article here

UPDATE 23:00 UTC : People are still trapped in 7 buildings.

UPDATE 23:00 UTC : Registration process from friends and families have recorded 1,511 Australians to be in Christchurch at the time of the earthquake.
417 have been identified. Australian government is still in search for 1,094 people.

UPDATE 22:53 UTC : There are still people freed out of the rubble. New Search and Rescue teams from Australia and other countries are gradually arriving in Christchurch and start operations almost immediately.

UPDATE 22:41 UTC : Cameras have found inside the CTV building rubble 15 people alive.

UPDATE 22:39 UTC : National State of Emergency declared by Prime Minister John Key.

UPDATE 22:25 UTC : Latest casualty numbers
55 bodies identified - 20 bodies unidentified
300 people still missing (which does not mean that they are death !).

UPDATE 22:14 UTC : There is some significant damage to roads and major liquefaction across the city.
Inspections for bridges on key routes
were carried out overnight. Some are stable, others are damaged. By the end of today, four bridge inspection teams will be on the ground with more to come.The Bridge Street bridge in South Brighton has serious damage and is not expected to be open for several weeks. Council are trying to get the Gayhurst Bridge open today. Meanwhile crews have begun fixing damage to roads across the city.

UPDATE 22:12 UTC : While the priority remains the CBD and saving lives, Council is also getting underway an assessment of damage in the suburbs.

UPDATE 22:09 UTC : A lot more pictures and video footage may be expected as the Police is currently touring some damaged parts in the city with media people.

UPDATE 21:08 UTC : Amongst the extra Police staff are specialist disaster victim identification teams, urban search and rescue staff and police dog units

UPDATE 21:06 UTC : Official Police comment : We know that the final number who have perished will tragically be much higher.

UPDATE 20:57 UTC : Power has been restored in almost 50% of the city.

UPDATE 20:49 UTC : Everybody focuses on the city center of Christchurch, but Lyttelton, the location of the epicenter has been hit the hardest. More than 60% of the buildings in the main street have collapsed.

UPDATE 20:47 UTC : 48 people's live have been saved during the nightly hours by Rescue workers.

UPDATE 20:35 UTC : Official death toll has risen to 39, up from 32

UPDATE 19:01 UTC : City officials said that 120 people have been pulled out of the debris.

UPDATE 18:59 UTC : Read the press releases of the city of Christchurch in this special earthquake website

UPDATE 18:51 UTC : 2 people have been killed by falling rocks.

UPDATE 18:49 UTC : The first of the Australian search and rescue teams has touched down in Christchurch.

UPDATE 18:48 UTC : The army is patrolling the streets of Christchurch and police are being brought in from all over the South Island and Auckland.
Inspector Russell Gibson says there have been no arrests for issues such as looting.

UPDATE 18:47 UTC : Labour leader Phil Goff has described the scene as like the London blitz. He said the people crushed in two buses will add to the fatality toll.

UPDATE 18:46 UTC : The United States is deploying a Disaster Assistance Response Team with an USAR crew. The team will bring more than 70 specialized personnel and equipment to aid rescue. Australia has sent 148 USAR staff.

UPDATE 18:18 UTC : Police has told the press that everyone attempting to enter the inner city cordon will be arrested.

Twitpic picture telling it all in one image

UPDATE 18:16 UTC : Their will be NO public transport today in Christchurch.

UPDATE 18:14 UTC : If residents need emergency assistance and accommodation overnight, they should go to Burnside High School. A secondary welfare center is also at Hagley Park North. Welfare centers have been busy overnight. Blankets, food, sanitation are supplied at the centers. Blankets have been provided by Warehouse and Food Distribution Centers have made food available to the welfare centers. Civil Defense will attempt to open more centers throughout the day.

UPDATE 18:10 UTC : A woman with a baby in her arms died instantly when she was hit by falling debris. A passerby went to her assistance in Cashel St Mall, but she was dead when he arrived. It is not known how badly hurt the baby was.

UPDATE 18:08 UTC : The sun has just risen at the horizon. Daylight will make rescue efforts considerably easier or less difficult.

Initial information

Very strong Magnitude 6.3 earthquake (aftershock) in New Zealand South Island
Following USGS the epicenter (extremely shallow) is right under Christchurch (5 km)

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 6.3
UTC time : Monday, February 21, 2011 at 23:51:42 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:51:42 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 4 km satellite map + I Did Feel It form

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place

USGS Shaking map
USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS impact on population map
USGS Seismic hazard map

LIVE SEISMOGRAM (nearest Seismograph station)

GDACS Green Earthquake Alert (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System)

QuakeSOS+ is an iPhone application developed by Armand Vervaeck, the creator and main contributor to Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is constantly feeding the users with œEarthquake Report news. Together with your own family and friends, QuakeSOS+ will be your closest earthquake friend. Buying QuakeSOS+ will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

a was also created by SOS Earthquakes. makes it easy to let the world know which shaking people have experienced during the earthquake. gives also the opportunity to write some additional text. Filling up the form takes only 1 minute. gives an overview of all the resent earthquakes and let you even go back in time and retrieve earthquakes of a certain date in the past. headlines on twitter

@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our articles + regular updates on ongoing events

@QuakeSOS : news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America's and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications

@ShakingEarth : news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account

@QuakeMaps : news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our website


  1. We will come through with a more accurate damage assessment at some point soon, but for the moment too many variables at play.
    JP Morgan with $12 billion US also seems reasonable.
    I am waiting for some of the bigger companies to release their estimates - will be interesting to see. Hopefully it won't exceed $15 billion, given that the GDP Nominal 2010 was only $189 billion.

  2. I'm looking for information on two people living in Christchurch. My aunt, Sue Elliott and Uncle Wayne Matthews. We haven't heard from them and we just want to know if they are alright.