The city of Christchurch in New Zealand was hit by a fatal earthquake at 12.51 pm (10.51am Sydney time). It has since been shaken by frequent aftershocks as many as 65 in the last 24 hours that hamper the rescue team’s effort to bring out people still trapped in rubbles of collapsed buildings. The death tolls stood at 65 and John Key, the Prime Minster of New Zealand, warned the toll may exceed 200 with many people still trapped in demolished buildings across the stricken city.
Live TV broadcasters described the city as a war zone, with dead bodies lying on the streets, buildings collapsed, cars and vehicles flattened like pancakes, water, sewer and gas lines ruptured and earthquake liquefaction swamping the central city in live coverage across the Tasman Sea to Australia since yesterday.
I am deeply shocked and saddened by the human toll and devastation of an historical city I last visited in 1989. I can still remember that I have had taken a few photos in front of the Christchurch Cathedral on a cold winter day with a young Singaporean family who was travelling in a caravan across New Zealand together with me. To see the iconic cathedral’s spire collapsed to the ground is a terrible symbol of the earthquake’s impact to the city. This Anglican cathedral, a 130 year old with its neo Gothic architecture is one of New Zealand’s popular tourist drawcards, as much a symbol to Christchurch as the Merlion is to Singapore.