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Additional police staff heading to Christchurch

Additional police staff heading to Christchurch

A large number of police staff are being readied to deploy from around New Zealand to Christchurch following today's earthquake in the city.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff says while fatalities have been reported, their exact number is not yet known.

He says police are aware of people who remain trapped in buildings. Some people have been able to call from these buildings to alert emergency services to their location.

A large number of people were injured in the initial earthquake that struck just before 1pm.

Superintendent Cliff says a large number of police staff will be used to assist the search and rescue teams involved in the rescue operation.

Cordon points have been established around the central city and police are urging people as a priority to stay at home with their families and to check on their neighbours.

Superintendent Cliff says the major roads to Christchurch Hospital are open, and the contingencies involved in treating those who have been injured are in place.

The Christchurch Central Police Station, which was earlier evacuated, has now been re-opened.
The police emergency 111 system is working.

There is pressure on cellphones and telephone systems and police ask that people keep non-urgent calls to a minimum.

The next media inter-agency briefing is being held at 5.45pm at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Media identification will be required.

ENDS

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