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Earthquake strikes Christchurch, New Zealand

Damage is extensive in Christchurch, New Zealand, from a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Tuesday afternoon.

Seismologists are saying today’s earthquake is actually an aftershock of the 7.2 earthquake that struck last September.

Eastern suburbs are flooded after Christchurch, New Zealand, was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The powerful earthquake struck one of New Zealand's biggest cities Tuesday at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters.
Eastern suburbs are flooded after Christchurch, New Zealand, was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The powerful earthquake struck one of New Zealand's biggest cities Tuesday at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. Photo: Associated Press

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is assessing the needs of those impacted by the quake and determining how it can best offer assistance.

The Pacific Area Presidency of the Church released a statement on the earthquake.

“We are deeply concerned for the people of Christchurch at this time. Many have lost their lives.

Rescue workers work to extinguish a fire at a collapsed building in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, killing and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters.
Rescue workers work to extinguish a fire at a collapsed building in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, killing and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. Photo: Associated Press

“We extend our love and sympathy to families and individuals who are grieving.

“As a church bearing the name of Jesus Christ, we will continue to do as the Savior would have us do. We will work with government and other groups to bring help, healing and hope to those affected by this disaster.” See entire statement below.

Church-specific information: The Church has confirmed that all missionaries in the area are safe and accounted for.

Rescue workers search for victims after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters.
Rescue workers search for victims after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. Photo: Associated Press

Local Church leaders are contacting Latter-day Saints throughout the city to confirm their safety and well-being so immediate support can be mobilized.

The Church is also assessing damage to its buildings.

The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management (www.civildefence.govt.nz/) is posting updates on its website.

Statement From the Church’s Pacific Area Presidency

The Pacific Area Presidency of the Church released a statement on the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday afternoon:

"We are deeply concerned for the people of Christchurch at this time. Many have lost their lives due to Tuesday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake. We extend our love and sympathy to families and individuals who are grieving.

"We are grateful for and marvel at the courageous leadership of Mayor Bob Parker, his fellow council officers and all others engaged in the difficult task of rescuing those still trapped in buildings. This is in addition to all they are doing to manage other aspects of the disaster response. Many other churches, organizations and individual volunteers are reaching out to neighbours and others to identify urgent needs and do what can be done to provide medical aid and to bring relief and comfort to those who are suffering.

"Our own Church's leaders and members are busy assessing needs and resources among our own faith community, as well as reaching out to our neighbors and friends in Christchurch communities. We are grateful for the inspiring and unwearying leadership of Maurice McDonald, president of the Christchurch New Zealand Stake. He and other Church leaders in Christchurch are not only taking care of their own families but also supporting many other individuals and families.

"We in the Pacific Area Presidency, along with many others throughout New Zealand and overseas, continue to pray for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones; for those who are injured and suffering; for the elderly and children who are especially traumatized; for Civil Defense, rescue and medical workers, and for all others impacted by yesterday's earthquake.

"We invite members of our Church to join with us and those of other faiths to pray to God with all of our might that lives may be saved, wounds healed, hearts comforted and families united in safety. As a church bearing the name of Jesus Christ, we will continue to do as the Saviour would have us do. "

We will work with government and other groups to bring help, healing and hope to those affected by this disaster."

Pacific Area Presidency

Elder Tad R. Callister

Elder James J. Hamula

Elder Brent H. Nielson

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