Christchurch quake toll rises to 65

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CHRISTCHURCH - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday said that so far, 65 people have died as a result of the 6.3 Richter Scale earthquake in Christchurch.

Speaking from Christchurch after flying down this afternoon, the New Zealand Herald quoted Key as telling One News that it was likely the quake would prove to be New Zealand’s “darkest day”.

He said that New Zealanders should be assured that their government is doing everything it can to provide relief and rehabilitation.

He said there were 180 police on the ground, a further 200 were on the way and 350 military were already in Christchurch with another 250 to arrive soon.

The government had accepted offers of specialist help from Australia and US.

“I don’t think we can go past the fact that we may well be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day,” Key said, but added that the death toll 65 may rise.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says: “As daylight comes tomorrow we need to prepare ourselves for what is likely to be significant numbers of casualties.”

Earlier today, residents reported were bodies lying in the streets of Christchurch.

Police said fatalities had been reported at several locations and that falling buildings had crushed two buses.

Mayor Parker has declared a state of emergency. (ANI)

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