A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit the popular tourist destination of Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday. The earthquake occurred at 12:51pm, killing 65 people. The death toll is likely to increase significantly in the coming days with unconfirmed reports of 90 victims and estimates as large as 1,000, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The area now suffers from the aftershock of the catastrophe, chaotic streets and damaged infrastructure challenge rescuers searching for survivors amongst the rubble.
The area was still recovering from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, which hit last September. However, the September earthquake resulted in zero deaths, largely due to the time of occurence. Ian Stuart , reporter for the New Zealand Press Association stated,
“The last earthquake in September didn’t kill anyone because people were home asleep when it struck.”
Tuesday’s earthquake, however, occurred during the lunch hour as people were out and about.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker said, “Make no mistake — this is going to be a very black day for this shaken city.”
Despite the devastation, Christchurch remains focused on recovery efforts.
The Christchurch hospital reopened late Tuesday night to tend to victims after it had shutdown earlier in the day.
Emergency aid and rescue workers have been pouring into the country to help with the recovery. Additionally, New Zealand has received numerous offers from countries around the globe to lend a hand in the clean up.