A Preston-born woman living in New Zealand has spoken of her shock at the devastating earthquake which hit the country’s second-largest city, Christchurch, yesterday.Advertisement
The earthquake struck just before one in the afternoon while people in the city were at work. More than 75 people have died and 100 are missing.
Judy Fowler, who emigrated to New Zealand 36 years ago, liked the country so much that she has not been back since.
Mrs Fowler, lives in Wellington, north of Christchurch.
She has not been directly affected by the earthquake but says the whole country has been shaken by the images being shown by the country’s media.
“At least one person has had a limb removed in order to be rescued. So far most images have come from the Christchurch centre but buildings in outlying areas have suffered, too,” she said.
Speaking about the horrific scenes in the town she added: “Some of [the people trapped] can be heard calling and texting from the rubble.”
The disaster has been called “New Zealand’s darkest day” by the country’s Prime Minister, John Key, who has declared a national state of emergency.
The 6.3 magnitude earthquake is estimated to have caused $4billion (£1.9m) worth of damage after destroying roads, homes and office buildings.
Roger Smith from Preston told BBC Radio Lancashire that he is worried about his son who lives with his family near Christchurch and has not heard from since the earthquake struck.
He said: “Having been there and seen it you can appreciate the devastation that the folks are going through.
“The pictures on the television compared to pictures on my laptop are almost unbelievable.”
New Zealand’s Minister of Civil Defence John Carter: “There will be expected to be a continuation of aftershocks.”
He said the city will need to make permanent arrangements to prevent similar damage in the future.