Icelanders escape deadly New Zealand earthquake

A forceful earthquake which rocked Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, at around midnight (GMT) has killed at least 65 people. The dozens of Icelanders in the city are physically unharmed, despite damage to some of their houses.

“Many houses completely collapsed, but not ours,” says the well-known Icelandic/New Zealand singer Hera Hjartardottir, who lives in central Christchurch with her parents.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit at a shallow depth of just 5 km around 10 km outside of the city. It is believed at least 200-300 people are still stuck in the rubble.

Hera told RUV that the destruction is widespread and not dissimilar to the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. “There is no electric, no water, the street is all broken up and we are just holding on closely to the things we love,” she said — adding that all her nearest friends and relatives are alright.

A 14-person group of Icelanders travelling to Christchurch for a wedding were out of contact for a long while, sending alarm bells ringing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Reykjavik. However they, and all the dozens of Icelanders who live in Christchurch, appear to be fine and are thinking mostly of likely aftershocks, the state of their property and, of course, those who have been less lucky than themselves.

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