New Zealand’s “Worst Day”

A New Zealand MP has today spoken of the country’s “worst day” as an earthquake kills 65 people.

Chris Auchinvole, MP for West-Coast Tasman, said the 10pm bulletin confirmed an official death toll of 65 in the south island city of Christchurch.

He said: “This is perhaps the worst day ever for New Zealand. There is great concern that the death toll will increase. A state of emergency has been declared and it has been given a civil defence rating of three. The airport in Christchurch is still usable and it is being used exclusively for emergency personnel.”

Mr Auchinvole, who is currently in Wellington where the New Zealand parliament is sitting, spent some of his childhood in Suffolk living in Sudbury and going to school in Bury St Edmunds.

He added that a rescue operation is ongoing. He said: “Emergency teams, experts and paramedics are arriving from Australia and other parts of New Zealand. People who have been made homeless are being put in marquees in Hagley Park in central Christchurch which were put up for the flower show and the majority of people in the centre of the city are being asked to leave as it is being cordoned off.”

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Registering 6.3 on the Richter scale, the quake struck at lunchtime at a shallow depth of 5 kilometres. Power and telephone lines have been knocked out as buildings collapsed causing fires across the city.

Mr Auchinvole added: “Initially there were scenes of chaos but New Zealand isn’t given to chaos and we rapidly settled to helping one another and those in difficulty. Emergency services have moved very quickly, triage centres have been set up and all elective surgery has been stopped at the hospital which is treating the injured.”

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Do you have friends or family in New Zealand? Have you been affected by the earthquake? Please call the newsdesk on 01473 324732

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