A major earthquake in Christchurch at 12.51pm has caused widespread damage and injury.
The central city is currently being evacuated as reports are received of widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Multiple fatalities have been reported at several locations in the central city, including two buses crushed by falling buildings. A doctor and emergency services are attending.
Other reports include multiple building collapses, fires in buildings in the central and persons reported trapped in buildings.
All available police staff are assisting with evacuations and emergency responses.
Christchurch Hospital is not evacuated and is in operation. No injuries reported at Christchurch Airport.
Defence forces have been called in to assist.
Triage centres have been established for people with injuries at:
- Latimer Square, Central City
- Spotlight Mall, Sydenham
- Sanitarium, Papanui
Police advise that people who have evacuated their homes or buildings should report to their nearest Civil Defence sector post - usually schools.
Further updates will be issued as available.
A media briefing will be advised as soon as possible later today.
Stephen Hill, Police District Communications Manager
Mob. 027 4363701
MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: Cellphone services may be unavailable.