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Christchurch Update

The BBC is now reporting that 65 dead in Christchurch

The tremor caused widespread damage as it occurred at a shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) during lunchtime when Christchurch was at its busiest.

The mayor of New Zealand’s second-biggest city says 120 people have been rescued from the ruins.

The country’s deadliest natural disaster in 80 years struck at 1251 (2351 GMT on Monday), 10km (6.2 miles) south-east of the city.

Most of the people died in vehicles when buildings collapsed on them.

Update from TV New Zealand: Live updates: day two

2.50pm: Reporter Ruth Wynn Williams says a cordon spanning two blocks has been put around the 26 storey Hotel Grand Chancellor building for fear it will collapse. No one is allowed in. It is understood the building, which is Christchurch’s tallest building, is sinking in its foundations.

To recap 2:32pm
– death toll stands at 75, with 300 missing
– there are fears the 26 storey Hotel Grand Chancellor building could collapse
– temporary morgue facilities set up
– major damage to power infrastructure
– water and sewerage services disrupted
– phone networks under pressure
– hospitals damaged, patients being transferred
– PM vows Christchurch will be rebuilt

If you look at the USGS Australia Region map, the red lines are the faults, you can see that this is an intense period of activity. New Zealand is in the southeast corner of the map.

Also from the USGS site the details of the 6.3 quake and the aftershocks.