New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key said Tuesday that the initial report indicates 65 casualties in the quake, AFP reported.
A 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Christchurch, damaging some buildings, streets and water mains across the southern city.
According to US Geological Survey, the first struck occurred at 2351 GMT on Monday and was followed by a 5.6 magnitude aftershock 15 minutes later.
An old Christian church has collapsed, phone services are shut down and the airport is closed. Christchurch Hospital has been evacuated and there is not a confirmed report on the number of injured yet.
A state of emergency has been declared in New Zealand’s second largest city after it was hit by the quake.
Residents are in a state of panic. Rescue teams are searching for survivors in the debris of collapsed buildings, and emergency services and the army are struggling to reach areas where people have been trapped.
Australia has sent a search and rescue team to help New Zealand deal with the crisis.
Power and telephone lines have been knocked out, and water pipelines have burst, causing flooding. The city’s cathedral has collapsed, with its spire toppling into a central square.
Two buses have been crushed under falling buildings, and emergency services are battling a number of fires across the city.