Bodies lying around Christchurch after huge quake

Monday, February 21, 2011

CHRISTCHURCH - “There are just bodies lying around,” said a stunned resident of this New Zealand city after a massive earthquake Tuesday flattened buildings and falling debris crushed vehicles.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck New Zealand at 12.51 p.m., causing extensive damage to this city, one of the country’s biggest, in the South Island.

“We’ve had friends in town call us and say there are just bodies lying around; lots of dead bodies outside shops just lying there just covered in bricks,” Christchurch resident Jaydn Katene told New Zealand Herald.

“When it hit we were knocked to our feet. Everything in the house fell down, nothing was left still standing. There’s more damage than the first earthquake, the roads are completely torn up; sewage coming up and flooding. It’s crazy.

“The elderly are all crying. The next-door neighbours around us were all bawling their eyes out, it was horrible. People can’t get out of their houses,” said Katene.

He said he has seen “cars halfway sunken into the road. We’ve heard there’s a bus which is sunken halfway into the road just around the corner…Buildings are half-collapsed everywhere.”

“Houses are all collapsing. It’s pretty shocking; a total warzone.”

Christchurch resident Jane Smith told the Herald that a colleague had helped with rescue efforts after a building facade collapsed on a bus.

“There’s people dead. He was pulling them out of a bus. Colombo St is completely munted,” she was quoted as saying.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told Radio New Zealand: “The centre of the earthquake was in Lyttelton Harbour. There are hills covered in rocks, those rocks would have come down.”

He said there was immense damage to the city centre and people were trapped in buildings.

“Everybody needs to understand that this is going to be a day of very black news,” he said.

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