Christchurch's Anglican cathedral may have to be demolished after sustaining further damage in the latest earthquake to rock the New Zealand city, church authorities said Thursday.
The 130-year-old building's huge stained glass Rose Window shattered in a 6.0-tremor that struck on Monday, compounding damage from a 6.3-magnitude quake in February that killed 181 people and toppled the building's spire.
Bob Parker, the mayor, told Radio New Zealand that staff had been evacuated from the city council offices.
"We are being enveloped with dust. It is very, very scary.
"There has been a report of a further collapse of the remnants of the Christchurch Cathedral," he said.
"We need to get a picture of what is really happening and to make a call on where we need to send our essential services."
His council issued a statement advising residents to stay calm and check on the safety of their family and neighbours.
"For those at home, if you are concerned that your house may be damaged please move to a safer location," it said.
"Please limit your travel to ease congestion and make it easier for emergency services to move about the city."