Israeli killed in Christchurch

February 22, 2011 Agencies
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An Israeli backpacker is among the rising death toll following an earthquake in Christchurch.


The Israeli, who has not yet been named, was in a car with three others when a building collapsed on them following the 6.3 quake that has claimed at least 65 lives. About 200 others are reported missing in what PM John Key said could be the nation’s “darkest day”. .
Rabbi Shmuel Friedman, of the Chabad House in Christchurch, said he was inside the offices of the centre with an Israeli when the quake ripped through the city just before 1pm local time on Tuesday.
“All of a sudden walls, ceilings started coming in on us, the shake was shifting us side to side,” he said.
“We just ran, I have no idea no idea how we managed to get out of there.”
Amid the melee, he was unable to assess the damage to the building.
With phones lines down and power cut, communications have been difficult.
Wellington-based David Zwartz, a former president of New Zealand Jewish Council, said he received a text message from Bettina Wallace, the immediate past president of Canterbury Hebrew Congregation, the main synagogue in the region.
The SMS message read: “Shul damaged but fixable.”

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