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New Zealand Chabad House Destroyed in 6.3 Earthquake

New Zealand Chabad House Destroyed in 6.3 Earthquake

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Rubble from a collapsed façade blocks the entrance to a Christchurch building one day after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of New Zealand’s second-largest city back in September 2010. (File photo: Ann Devereux)
Rubble from a collapsed façade blocks the entrance to a Christchurch building one day after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake devastated parts of New Zealand’s second-largest city back in September 2010. (File photo: Ann Devereux)

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand’s second-largest city Tuesday morning, sending buildings crashing to the street and toppling the city’s central Chabad-Lubavitch center.

According to Rabbi Shmuel Freedman, who moved to the area three months ago to co-direct the Christchurch headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch of New Zealand under Rabbi Mendel Goldstein, he and other personnel were inside the center when the earthquake struck. Shouting into his cell phone – one of the few forms of communication that offered some connection to the outside world after the quake – the rabbi described a scene of pandemonium.

“We all ran out as it was falling down, but thank G‑d everybody is okay,” he said from Latimar Square, where Jewish families were congregating in the search for survivors. “We are getting everybody together now at the square to see if anybody is missing, and we are working very hard to help everybody.”

Unconfirmed news reports indicated that a number of hotels had collapsed in the city, and The Wall Street Journal, citing SkyTV News, reported that police had confirmed numerous fatalities in Christchurch.

“Other reports include multiple building collapses, fires in buildings and persons reported trapped in buildings,” the police reported in a statement. “All available police staff are assisting with evacuations and emergency responses.”

At Latimar Square, 600 meters from the Chabad House, Freedman, Jewish community officials and the Israeli embassy set up an emergency meeting point. But according to Tzippy Freedman, events were forcing people to evacuate to tent cities set up in the parks around Christchurch Hospital.

The Freedmans’ personal home was still standing, she said. But “everything inside is ruined.”

“Everyone’s just trying to evacuate. It’s really hectic right now,” she said. “Everyone is going to be sleeping in tents tonight.”

The temblor follows a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September 2010 that caused significant damage to buildings throughout Christchurch.

Chabad.org News staff writers Tamar Runyan and Levi Stein contributed to this report.



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Naomi Meislish Beit Horon, Israel March 28, 2011

chabad house in new zealand could you please tell me if and where there is a chabad in the south island of new zealand now with the one in christchurch ruined?
Thank you! Reply

Jared Sydney, Australia February 22, 2011

All victims of Christchurch My thoughts are with the greater community of New Zealand Jewish and non-Jewish. Confirmed death tolls stand around 65 with 100s still missing.

The Jewish community of New Zealand is small and has lived under a relatively anti-Israel government until most recently with the new Prime Minister (of Jewish heritage).

I wish steadfast to recovery to all. Reply

Hany MTL February 22, 2011

YHY Rebuilt Stronger May it be rebuilt stronger and with rapidity Reply

Josh Long Island, NY February 22, 2011

New Zealand Chabad House Destroyed in 6.3 Earthqua Check out his website at www.chabadnz.org you can click donate if you wish to help. Reply

Ilene Stackel Naples, Florida February 21, 2011

Chabad NZ Thank G-d no one was hurt. Has a special emergency fund been established to exclusively help the Christchurch shul rebuild? Reply

Daniel Morristown, NJ February 21, 2011

Is there any way to help? Is there any way to help? Reply

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