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Travellers Urged to Leave Christchurch – Earthquake Advice

Thursday 3rd March 2011

The Civil Defence wants tourists to free up hotel accommodation for residents

A significant 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch yesterday causing a huge amount of destruction and many fatalities in the centre of the city. The residents of Christchurch are being asked to stay off the roads to allow emergency services to get through and the Civil Defence is asking people to stay off their mobile phones to allow calls from injured or trapped people to get through to emergency services. They have also called for tourists to leave the immediate area and return home, to free up rooms for local residents whose homes have been damaged by the quake. Travellers are being asked to transfer to an unaffected region. Travellers are being advised to go to www.christchurchairport.co.nz for the latest information on international and domestic departures - or to call their airline direct.

British nationals in New Zealand should call 04 9242898 for advice and assistance in relation to the Christchurch earthquake and British nationals in the UK should call 020 7008 8765 for more information It’s reported that Christchurch Airport is currently closed except for emergency aircraft. Christchurch hospital is in operation dealing with the injured and a Crisis Response Centre has been set up in Christchurch Art Gallery. The Foreign office website says that the National Civil Defence is warning that significant aftershocks should now be expected. Police Headquarters (www.police.govt.nz) and Civil Defence (www.civildefence.govt.nz) websites are carrying information on the earthquake in Christchurch.

Backpackers and travellers currently in New Zealand are being asked ensure that your journey details are made known to local authorities or friends and relatives before visiting remote areas of New Zealand as weather conditions can easily become treacherous. Approximately 288,100 British nationals visit New Zealand each year either for short holidays of a few weeks or as longer term backpacker.