Catholic Mission calls for prayer and messages of support as shocking earthquake hits Christchurch City.
Catholic Mission has launched a prayer campaign in 160 countries around the world to pray for the people of Christchurch.
New Zealand Catholic Mission National Director, Fr Paul Shannahan sm reports:
A violent earthquake suddenly shook the South Island city of Christchurch just before 1 pm today. It measured 6.3 on the Richter scale. The Central business area saw many buildings partly or wholly collapsing especially the older ones. Sixty five deaths have been reported so far, as people are freed from under rubble and collapsed shop verandas.
Two buses were hit by falling debris and deaths are anticipated. The TV news room was badly struck; with roads covered with debris or broken water mains and the weird emergence of liquefaction from the earth and many phones out. This makes reporting sketchy and limited. All people in the central area have been directed to the large open Hagley Park as after- shocks continue and more masonry falls.
The two well known Anglican and Catholic cathedrals have seen large sections fall to the ground and they may be beyond repair.
The biggest ‘damage’ is on people. Many were traumatised in the 7.1 quake last September but this one is worse in that it was in the middle of a working and school day. It hit with such vigour. It shook whole building violently. Hundreds have sustained injuries but shock and fear is scaring them even more. Thousands are trying to get home and many more are leaving the city to stay elsewhere.
A full scale emergency has been declared. Army personal and Civil defence personal have been enlisted to assist Police and Fire brigades. The latter are mainly doing rescue work but now fires have broken out but they have little water to fight them. Helicopters have begun dropping huge amounts of water on the biggest blazes.
The damage is widespread but its full extent is hard to gauge at this early stage.
Prayers and messages of support would be one thing all could do at this time.
Mr Martin Teulan, National Director of Catholic Mission in Australia says “We’re shocked and upset at the terrible death and destruction. I was there this time last year, and it is an absolutely beautiful city with wonderful people. We ask that every Catholic in Australia join us in showing our overwhelming prayer and support”
Email your prayers to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward them to the people of Christchurch through Fr Paul Shanahan.