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Christchurch Earthquake Update – 23 February 2011
Education New Zealand: 23/02/11
As many of you have already heard, Christchurch suffered a very strong aftershock yesterday at approximately 1:00pm. The quake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and caused significant damage to central buildings and infrastructure in Christchurch.
All areas in New Zealand outside of Christchurch were unaffected by the aftershock, and there is no need for concern regarding students in other areas of the country.
All schools in Christchurch are closed today for assessment of the buildings. The best resource to check when schools will reopen is the Ministry of Education website at www.minedu.govt.nz.
The Lincoln University campus is closed today for building assessment, but they have had no reports of substantial damage. All of their international students have been accounted for and are well and being looked after.
The University of Canterbury has closed its campus for the rest of this week. They are in the process of contacting international students, but at this time we are not aware of any serious injuries or deaths.
Students are being asked to contact their home country Embassy in New Zealand to let them know they are accounted for. If you are concerned about a student, please contact the Embassy in the first instance to check whether the student has contacted them. There is also a Red Cross number which can be called from overseas to check whether people have been accounted for. The number is +64 7 850 2199. Phone lines in Christchurch are very busy, and it is recommended to make as few calls to the city as possible.
A building in central Christchurch which housed an English Language school, King’s Education, has collapsed in the aftershock. A group of Japanese students and teachers were inside the building at the time. Our most recent information is that two teachers and nine students were rescued from the building overnight. However, there are still up to twelve students trapped inside the buildings and rescuers are working to reach them.
Around half of the city has not yet had electricity restored. The power lines company is continuing to work on restoring power as quickly as possible. They expect that by the end of today between 70 and 80 per cent of the city will have electricity.
Anyone not able to stay in their home has been directed to a number of emergency shelters around the city. Food and clean water are being supplied. Many families in Christchurch have also offered those in need a place in their homes.
Christchurch International Airport has reopened as of this morning. For those wishing to leave Christchurch, Air New Zealand is offering reduced compassionate fares. Those wishing to reach immediate family members in Christchurch are also able to book these compassionate fares for travel into the city. More information on the flights is available here: http://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/christchurch-earthquake-update
It is understandable that family members are very concerned about their loved ones in Christchurch. We will keep you informed of developments as things unfold. We will continue to do everything possible to support international students in Christchurch, and to let you know whether they are safe and well.




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