Canterbury District Health Board is appealing to people to visit hospital’s emergency departments only when they are seriously injured after a massive earthquake hit Christchurch today.
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit at 12.51pm, crushing city buildings, killing 65 people and trapping an unknown number.
CDHB Chief Executive David Meates said Christchurch Hospital had suffered damaged along with most other hospitals in the region. But it is still operational.
The hospital’s Riverside Block has been given a generator to maintain power, but if power is not restored by this evening, some patients may need to be evacuated.
Patients from Christchurch Hospital’s top two floors have already been evacuated to lower floors and there was water damage throughout the hospital.
Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department is treating the seriously injured, while those with non-life threatening injuries were being treated in Christchurch Women’s Hospital and outpatients department.
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Many people are being treated for spinal injuries, broken bones and lacerations, said Mr Meates.
“We are also seeing a lot of chest pains and heart attacks are presenting as well,” he told TV One.
“Our intensive care is chocka, and we have just transferred eight people – two children and six adults — out of Canterbury to other intensive care units around the country, mainly Auckland but also Waikato and Capital and Coast (Wellington).”
Mr Meates appealed to people with non-serious injuries to contact their own doctor or visit an after hours medical centre.
The DHB has also appealed for more staff from other DHBs to help out.
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The latest information can be found on the Ministry of Civil Defence website: civildefence.govt.nz and the Environment Canterbury website: canterburyearthquake.org.nz
The Ministry of Civil Defence are asking that in order to minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people use text messaging to check if family and friends are safe.
New Zealanders in the UK who are worried about family and friends should continue to monitor the above websites, media reports and try to make direct contact. Once a national helpline has been established that number will be provided via the websites above.
British nationals concerned for British family and friends in New Zealand should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for consular advice: fco.gov.uk