Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NZ Updates: 1 Israeli killed, Chabad House destroyed, MDA Preparing Team

Times are Israel time (GMT+2):

Tuesday 16:00 From ABC News:

The earthquake caused 30 million tons of ice to fall from New Zealand's largest glacier, 120 miles from Christchurch. Twelve-foot-high waves swept up and down the lake for 30 minutes.
The two aftershocks – one magnitude 5.6 and another 5.5 – shook Christchurch within hours of the initial 6.3 earthquake.

The aftermath caused buildings to crumble, including the 130-year-old Christchurch Cathedral. Its spire toppled into the city square. "To see the top of the cathedral come down, I've never seen anything like it. There's just no words to be quite honest, it was just absolutely awful," said one survivor.
...Newspaper editor Andrew Holden said he heard glass cracking and falling throughout the building, clouds of dust billowing through the newsroom. "The roof above the main staircase collapsed so there was a fair bit of rubble down the staircase," Holden said, in an interview with Radio New Zealand. "We've had some good size shocks before but when you've got a quake of that size that just continues on and on."

Tuesday 13:00 A young Israeli man has been killed in New Zealand after a piece of a building fell onto a car in which the Israeli and 3 friends sat the moment the earthquake hit. The three friends, and other Israelis staying at the same hostel  were unharmed, as far as the friends know. The young man's family was notified in the middle of the night of the horrifying message by his friends in New Zealand: Your son is stuck in a car, parts of the building fell on his head, he is in a very bad condition, and we can't get him out. Several hours later the friends notified the family that their son was no longer alive. The victim's stepfather told Israel radio that another kibbutz member of his son's class was killed last year in the Gaza war, and that it was a tragedy for the entire kibbutz. (Israel Radio)

Tuesday 11:00 According to Israel's Foreign Ministry, there are approximately another 150-200 Israeli tourists who were in city where the quake took place. Unfortunately, many Israelis flocked to the area recently to attend a festival that took place there over the last several days, according to YNet. Many Israelis have already been evacuated to adjacent parks far away from unstable buildings.

According to Chabad.org, the earthquake in New Zealand has toppled the city's central Chabad center. The center's director, Rabbi Shmuel Friedman, reported that they were inside the building when the quake hit, but that everyone ran out as it was falling down, and B"H everyone is okay! Rabbi Friedman said that when the quake happened there were not very many people in the Chabad house, and that is was a miracle that it happened when it did. On Friday night, there were more than 100 people inside. "Through a miracle we got out of there," he said to YNet, "Everything is destroyed." Rabbi Friedman also reported that the entire city is destroyed, and that there is almost no building standing.

Magen David Adom has offered to send a team to New Zealand to assist in removing people stuck under buildings in the earthquake zone. It would be a simpler mission than the Haiti mission, since New Zealand is a developed country with adequate medical facilities. The New Zealand government has thanked MDA for its offer and will respond after it has a more accurate assessment of its needs (If I were them, I'd say yes to Israel right away. They know how to do this).

According to the Chabad of Canterbury wesbite, all people in the earthquake zone are directed to head to Latimar Sq, where Chabad and the Israeli embassy are setting up an Emergency Meeting Center. For emergencies call Rabbi Goldstein or Rabbi Friedman 0211685840 / 021818770

To check on the status of Israelis in New Zealand: +972-2-530-3155

To make a donation to the New Zealand Chabad, click here

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