New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key declared a state of national emergency On February 23 in the wake of a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated the South Island city of Christchurch on February 22.

The prime minister said at a press conference that 75 people were now confirmed dead with 300 others still reported missing.

The same day, Christchurch ’s authorities imposed a curfew from 18.30hrs of February 23 to assist rescue services and prevent looting.

More than 400 rescue workers have joined the search, including
teams from Australia , Singapore , Taiwan , the United States and
the UK . Australia has sent over 140 specialists and a 75-bed field hospital to help the survivors.

The Feb. 22 earthquake is the worst in New Zealand in 80 years, following the one in 1931 at Hawke's Bay on the country's North Island that killed at least 256 people./.