The quake, which had its epicenter in the city, has reportedly killed 65 people

A major earthquake of magnitude 6.3 occurred near Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday Feb 22 at around midday local time.

Horrifyingly, the epicenter of the quake was almost within the city bounds of Christchurch.

The quake was followed sharply by an aftershock of magnitude 5.6.

Current indications are that damage from the quake will exceed $1bn, according to catastrophe risk modeling firm EQECAT.

Christchurch was affected by a magnitude 7.0 event on September 4, 2010 that caused significant damage, but which hit in the early hours of the morning (rather than in the middle of the afternoon).

Estimating damages from this event is very challenging, said EQECAT. “The most fragile buildings were already damaged in September. Extensive damage from the September event is only partially repaired, and the state of repairs may have left many buildings in a more vulnerable position awaiting repair completion.”