Christchurch 2011 earthquake “ day 3 “ A crucial day for the rescue efforts (part 5)

This is the 5th 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)

An emotional short video without words

SUMMARY 16:00 UTC : 20 Chinese students are among those thought to be trapped in the quake rubble.

SUMMARY 15:58 UTC : POWER has been restored to 75 % of the Christchurch homes and 40% have WATER again. There is again enough FUEL to supply everyone.

SUMMARY 15:56 UTC : Official missing people hotline: 0800 RED CROSS, 0800 733 276. Overseas: +64 7 850 219

SUMMARY 15:52 UTC : Water will be available from the schools/parks at the following times tomorrow (Friday 25 February 2011 -  Click here to see the list).
Residents must take their own containers, and remember to boil all water before use.


The death toll from the Christchurch Earthquake is now 102 and this figure is still expected to rise.
The list of people who are unaccounted for, and where there is significant concern that they are in the CBD, remains around 200. It is likely that a large number of those who have died will be on that list but that cross-matching can only be carried out once there have been formal identifications.
Earthquake-Report predicts that the final death toll will be less than 300.

SUMMARY 15:33 UTC : An American Urban Search and Rescue Team has now arrived in New Zealand to join teams from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and China. A team from the UK is also en route and once they arrive there will be nearly 700 USAR teams and civil defence volunteers working on the rescue operation.

SUMMARY 15:30 UTC : Residents of Christchurch are being encouraged to be cautious and vigilant as a trend of people impersonating officials starts to emerge.
Police have received reports of individuals posing as EQC staff members going door-to-door asking questions about electronic equipment inside the houses, and people in high visibility vests on properties who disappear quickly when they realise they have been seen.
Any officials working in Christchurch should be carrying official identification and will not be offended if they are asked to show their ID. Later today 100 structural assessment teams will be going door-to-door in various suburbs and all will be carrying official ID.

The aftershocks page has been updated - Until 9:44 PM (local New Zealand time) 128 aftershocks have been recorded.
Link to the special aftershocks page

Twelve streets behind Redcliffs Primary School have been evacuated with residents cleared out after cliffs in the area were deemed to be unstable.

ANZ says its Canterbury Earthquake Appeal has raised nearly $500,000 since Tuesday.

Current data of fatalities and missing people :
98 bodies are confirmed in the morgue
226 people are missing (those still buried in the rubble are included in this number)

Foreign Minister Murray McCully confirmed that New Zealand has grave fears that foreign nationals may be among the fatalities from Christchurch™s devastating earthquake.

Power, telecommunications and essential services continue to be disrupted.

Extensive liquefaction throughout the impacted area has caused additional management and restoration issues.


SUMMARY 05:47 UTC : There are now 98 people confirmed dead. There are 228 people on the missing list, but the majority of the bodies found, should also be on the list, meaning the total missing could be about 150.

In addition, there were 164-200 seriously injured at least, maybe up to 431, and many others with slight or minor injuries (around 2000 people).

A total number of homeless has not been established due to the flux of people leaving Christchurch, but a reasonable estimate is around -10000+.

To date, approximately 1000 persons have been moved out of Christchurch to Wellington or Auckland by air. Another 500 tourists are expected to reach Wellington in the next hour after being evacuated from Christchurch by ship. They will take refuge at temporary accommodation centres around the Capital.

The news came through that police say 23 bodies have been pulled from the CTV building today. Superintendent Dave Cliff then went on to say that takes the total number of bodies recovered  to 47 from the CTV site.He says unfortunately they expect to recover more bodies in the days to come. In other news, the police have delayed releasing a list of missing people and confirmed victims with these exceptions. The focus of the police remains a rescue operation, but hopes of finding survivors fading, particularly at CTV building. The estimate of people trapped in CTV building is between 60 and 120, but it is unclear whether the 23 above are included in this value.

Between 16 and 22 people are believed to have died when Christchurch Cathedral collapsed.

In addition, the police superintendent released 4 names of people who died in the disaster. Our thoughts at SOS Earthquakes, go out to the family and friends of these people, and of course all those affected by this earthquake.

They are:

Joseph Tehau Pohio, aged 40 of Christchurch.
Jaime Robert McDowell Gilbert, aged 22 of Christchurch
Jayden Harris, nine months old of Christchurch
Baxter Gowland, five months old of Christchurch.

Lyttelton is heavily devastated. Unfortunately, no one has been rescued the rubble of Christchurch since yesterday. 75% of city expected to have power back tonight and hospitals are going ok. Many search and rescue staff are on the ground (around 750 international staff), attempting to find those under the rubble, and supporting the living.  In previous earthquakes, there have been low probability instances of people being rescued after 7 days, and even longer, so don't give up hope! The 36 M4+ aftershocks that have occurred since the big earthquake, mean that rescue workers still need to be careful when combing the wreckage.

The schools and universities remain closed. Around 80% of Christchurch has no mains water (i.e. water from taps). There are 14 locations across the city where people can get clean water, including six schools. Please refer to the Ministry site for more info.

Nine further sites where people can collect boiled water will open later today and 34 tankers were also being sent in to the city later this morning.

Resources from the North Island and also other unaffected South Island cities are also being sent to Christchurch.

Australia continues to play a major role in supporting their brothers and sisters in New Zealand by sending police, fire and rescue staff. I have also read many reports from Geoscience Australia members and Australian Earthquake Engineering Society members, like Trevor Allen, Gary Gibson and Kevin McCue. More help will definitely be needed in the coming days, weeks and months to characterise red, yellow and green tagging.

This earthquake should be a wake up call for nearly every city around the world. Yes, most cities have faults near them or under them. Shallow earthquakes near urban centres cause major damage. So, please build and design better, and create better practice for disaster management and recovery.

A hazard map of earthquakes does not show future earthquakes, only the previous earthquakes, which is why much work is needed in places which even do not show a high earthquake hazard at the present time on maps like GSHAP.

We simply have not measured all faults around the world. However, work like that of Dave Clark at GA, and others around the world in finding faults, becomes increasingly important in creating future hazard maps.

In addition, improving the vulnerability component of buildings in these areas becomes another tool, to reducing risk, and reducing the pricetag and social losses.


UPDATE 02:02 UTC : There are now 300 international search and rescue personnel in Christchurch, from four international contributors, working alongside New Zealanders to boost rescue efforts following the devastating earthquake

UPDATE 02:02 UTC : Search and Rescue teams continue working systematically in the Christchurch Business District

UPDATE 02:01 UTC : For lost or found dogs please contact Animal Control on 021 240 8310 or visit 10 Metro Place “ Open 8:00am to 6:00pm

UPDATE 02:00 UTC : Unless water is bottled. People need to boil water

UPDATE 01:59 UTC : Twenty new water tanker stations have been established at schools around the City today

UPDATE 01:58 UTC : Teams of building and health inspectors began assessing residential properties effected by the quake. Forty teams are visiting the suburbs of Brighton, Dallington, Avonside, Parklands/Queenspark, Saint Martins/Opawa, and Lyttelton

UPDATE 01:56 UTC : Christchurch Police are urging people who are leaving the city to inform friends, family or neighbors that they have left and that there is no concern for their safety.

UPDATE 01:44 UTC : We have just created a page with links to in-depth reports of various side subjects of this 6.3 Christchurch earthquake like, faults, liquefaction, collapsing modern buildings, etc.  Click here to read this page

UPDATE 00:35 UTC : Video of TV New Zealand with the survival story of Roslyn Chaplin who started working in the Pine Gould building on the day the earthquake struck.

UPDATE 00:30 UTC : At least 160 people are seriously injured and are being treated in different hospitals around the country.

UPDATE 00:25 UTC : 76 people are in the morgue at this moment. 236 people have been listed as missing.

UPDATE 23:30 UTC : Prime Minister John Key wants Rugby World Cup games to proceed in Christchurch, saying it would be a powerful symbol of the city's resilience after two major earthquakes in the past six months.

UPDATE 23:24 UTC : The NZ dollar extended its loss, hitting a new two-month low as the latest shake compounds the billions of dollars of damage caused in the September quake.

UPDATE 23:20 UTC : Prime Minister Key says the scale of the earthquake which struck on Tuesday means that it requires the full attention of a dedicated Minister. Mr Brownlee has been appointed to this post.
Mr Brownlee™s other portfolios have been reallocated to reflect that.
Mr Brownlee in his role and to reflect the size of the recovery job, Maurice Williamson has been appointed as Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.
As we move forward after Tuesday™s earthquake, the people of Christchurch and its surrounding areas can be certain that the Government is firmly focused on getting their city back on its feet.

Map with the location of the aftershocks so far - Map courtesy

UPDATE 23:09 UTC : Teams of engineering and welfare personnel were moving into the suburbs of Christchurch on Thursday to check on people outside the central city

UPDATE 22:10 UTC : Rescue teams have pulled out of their search of the Pyne Gould building in central Christchurch because of concerns about the building's safety

UPDATE 20:26 UTC : We have now updated our special aftershocks page. Since the 6.3 Big Damaging Aftershock on February 22 , 109 aftershocks have been recorded. Only 1 shock of the last 16 shocks was above magnitude 4.
Footnote from James Daniell : The trend where there are less M4 aftershocks now is usually characterized by Omori™s Law “ the decay of aftershocks which is a exponential decay of the strength (in terms of magnitude etc.) with time.

Donations - please give cash not goods
(this article is a copy from the Civil Defense website)
People wanting to contribute to the response are encouraged to contribute financially ONLY. (No donations of goods or services at this time please). Cash donations to:
* Red Cross:  OR
* Salvation Army: 0800 53 00 00 (Specify that your donation is for the ˜Canterbury Earthquake Appeal™)  OR
* Any ANZ Bank branch: Account number 01-1839-0188939-00
* Any National Bank branch: Account number 06-0869-0548507-00
* Any Westpac Bank branch: Account number 03-0207-0617331-00
* Any ASB Bank branch: Account number 12-3205-0146808-00
* Any BNZ Bank branch: Account number 02-0500-0982004-000
* Any Kiwibank branch: Account number: 38-9009-0759479-00
In addition, a Mayoral Fund has been set up to accept donations to Christchurch citizens at the following BNZ bank account: 02-0800-084958-000

UPDATE 19:55 UTC : GNS Science advises that there may be more magnitude 5 or greater aftershocks in the next few days. Aftershocks are expected to to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued disruption to power, telecommunications and essential services.
(Earthquake-Report notice) Please do not panic as this is meant as a precaution to be ready in case it happens. Nobody, not even GNS Science can predict when and how strong the aftershocks will be.

UPDATE 19:49 UTC : For queries about missing persons please call 0800 733 276 (0800 RED CROSS)

UPDATE 19:35 UTC : A bad sign was that however rescue workers did all they can to find and rescue people, they could not get people out alive. More disturbing is the fact that rescuers have received no longer text messages or phone calls from people inside the collapsed buildings.
Dis does not mean the Search and Rescue people will give up, they continue as before.

Comparison from Christchurch September and February earthquakes - Original picture by ABC News Online designer Ben Spraggon - we encourage to visit the original picture at :

UPDATE 19:22 UTC : The figure at right is a comparison in between the September earthquake and the February earthquake.
The second circle of the 7.1 earthquake can be compared with the magnitude of the February earthquake.
Only the third circle of the 7.1 earthquake reached Christchurch. Although this circle had less energy it was capable of damaging the Christchurch city center.
The inner circle of the February quake struck the city with the most energy.
Not only Christchurch city center was heavily damaged by this quake, but also, even closer to the epicenter, Lyttelton and Brighton.
We encourage people to visit the site from the original image as they have to credits for this comparison.
Link :

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.

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. Simon Sayfe says

    Hi, i just need to share some facts with you in relation to your information relating to:
    "There have also been reports of at least two Australians presenting themselves to the Fire Service as both Urban Search and Rescue and Disaster Victim Identification staff when they weren't"
    This was not the case at all, infact this is false and misleading. A colleague and myself, flew on our own expense to Christchurch to assist, i spoke to the man in charge there and mentioned we just flew in from Australia and are here to assist, mentioning that we had made prior contact to government officials that we were coming in good faith, one responded saying thank you for the email and will forward it to the appropriate governing authority, and that in the mean time we booked, leaving our families and children behind to go to Christchurch to assist.
    He asked me what credentials i had with the USAR, I said i havent even heard of it and am here in a individual capacity and mentioned i am part of search and rescue team called National Search and Rescue(NSAR), he said he never heard of it either, i said because its a new non profit organisation set up after i have assisted with many other search and rescue teams during other disaster events, like the recent Queensland Floods, Kinglake fires in Victoria and i assisted the DVI team in Indonesia during The Tsnami, of which i assisted for 10 days and other disaster incidents. Nothing and i repeat nothing was ever mentioned about being part of the Urban Search and Rescue nor from the DVI team.
    He said he will need to confirm this as we were not invited, therefore i will have to return to the arts centre and await a call, of which i said i have not a issue seeing that i came all this way just to assist, as i have always said "two hands clap". I waited their for hours till i received a phone call from some governing body tell me that because we weren't invited that the only way i can assist was to contact the either in charge of the Australian teams that are already here, i requested details but he couldn't assist. There are a lot of smaller organisations that exist that have the willingness and skill to help, even though we are not commonly heard off overseas, so i went on to help clean up in other Eastern suburbs areas for a further two days in good faith.
    After all this I have no disrespect for anyone involved as you were falsely informed, but i thought it would only be fair to really explain the situation as we paid all costs including accommodation to try a assist as we believe we could of made a difference with the past experiences i had been involved in. sorry to have wasted your time with this email especially when you have disasters to report on, but its only fair you and the public know the truth as Australia put their hands and hearts out to the New Zealand people.
    Finally i hope the remaining SAR teams pull out survivors and my families and ofcoarse my prayers are with you all during these sad affected times.

    • Thankyou for the information. Yes, it is important to know the full details which are never construed to us in the first news statements. We are at the moment following closely civil defence and NZ network coverage, which reported this information. So thanks for the update!
      All the best,