New quakes rock Christchurch

2011-06-13 08:23

A series of powerful earthquakes, including one of 6.0 magnitude, rocked New Zealand’s stricken capital city of Christchurch today causing further damage.

More buildings came down and there was severe disruption to electricity and water supplies, with the city still recovering from the destruction of the deadly 6.3 earthquake in February which killed 181 people.

“We are in a serious situation,” said Bob Parker, mayor of New Zealand’s second-largest city.

The National Crisis Management Centre controller David Coetzee said there were no reported fatalities from the latest tremors but at least 10 people were injured and more buildings in the central business district collapsed.

Power company Orion confirmed that electricity had been cut to 54 000 homes and that council staff said they had lost water pressure across the city.

The US Geological Survey measured the largest quake at a magnitude of 6.0, with a depth of 9km and the epicentre of about 14km from the heart of the city.

It followed a string of shocks by late yesterday, including a 5.2 magnitude jolt which caused building damage in the city, and came just as schools were about to end for the day.

All schools have now been closed until further notice.

“It will be a restless night,” Parker warned. “It’s pretty realistic to expect overnight we will have some more aftershocks.

“If you don’t have power and don’t have water at the moment assume you won’t have them overnight.”

The police confirmed at least one building had fallen over in central Christchurch, which remains blocked off after the February 22 earthquake levelled much of the city, but said nobody was trapped.

“We’ve checked the collapsed building and it’s all clear,” a police spokesman said. The size of the building was not known.
In an outer suburb, a block of shops vacant since being damaged in February also collapsed, as did the historic  134-year-old Timeball Station – which used to indicate the time to ships – in the port area of Lyttelton.

The 6.0 magnitude quake prompted the police to evacuate parts of the damaged central city known as the red zone, while rock falls closed several bridges and rocks littered the roads in hill areas.

The central police station was temporarily evacuated until it was declared safe by engineers.

Police urged residents to check on friends and neighbours, and to stay at home and avoid travelling if possible, but locals gridlocked the roads as they attempted to find their way home and reach their families.

The series of quakes came just hours after the opening of an inquest examining why an office block collapsed in February’s earthquake, killing more than 100 people, including 65 foreign students.

When the first tremors hit around lunchtime, lawyers and relatives of those killed when the Canterbury Television (CTV) building toppled and then burst into flames on February 22 fled the building as windows rattled.

“They’re a terrible reminder,” said Mike Barry, whose sister was killed in February.

The inquest was briefly suspended twice by the ongoing earthquakes before being adjourned for the day after the shake.

Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepson said people would have been quite strongly shaken after the seismic activity New Zealand’s South Island had endured in recent months.

“It seems like they are going to keep happening. Since they had that really big earthquake it seems to me like it activated all these different faults.

“But it’s just a guessing game of what is going to happen next,” he said.

One Christchurch city worker, who identified himself only as Bryce, said he was pleased he was about to move to Auckland.

“It’s three days until I leave this earthquake-ridden town. I can’t wait.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.