Aftershocks continue to rattle New Zealand

2011-12-24 08:42

Wellington - Aftershocks continued to rattle the earthquake-shattered New Zealand city of Christchurch on Saturday overshadowing Christmas preparations for weary residents in a "hellish year".

The unrelenting series of tremors, several stronger than magnitude 5.0, had the city on edge again 10 months after a devastating quake claimed 181 lives and destroyed much of the inner city.

Emergency services on Saturday were rushing to restore electricity and water supplies and an army of 2 000 volunteers were helping clean up the worst affected suburbs by Christmas Day.

"There is a real determination in our city not to let the events of the past 24 hours ruin Christmas. Our crews have worked overnight and will be working all today to restore services to the city," Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said.

"Our goal is that by the end of the day we will have made the necessary emergency repairs to our water, wastewater and roads.

"It has been a hellish year. I am determined to get as much as we can fixed by tonight so that our staff, apart from a skeleton team, can spend Christmas with their families."

The latest flurry of earthquakes began at 00:58 GMT on Friday, sending Christmas shoppers fleeing from stores in panic as stock fell from shelves and forcing the closure of the international airport as a precaution.

Over the following 24 hours there were 39 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or stronger including four over 5.0.

At least three houses that had been in a precarious state following powerful shakes earlier in the year collapsed and one large shopping mall was unable to open Christmas Eve, one of the most lucrative days of the year.

As tension mounted in the city and a special help-line was set up for people feeling distressed, civil defence warned the aftershocks would continue for some time.

"Unfortunately when there is a large earthquake of this kind, people do need to expect aftershocks," civil defence spokesperson Vince Cholewa said.

It was too much for Sarah and Judah Matenga, who said they planned to move to Australia after seeing their property once again covered in liquefaction, a sludge pushed up through the earth by the force of the earthquake.

"That's the plan, move to Oz," Matenga told the New Zealand Herald. "This is the last straw, really. Christmas still has to go ahead, but after that we'll be out of here."

His neighbour Sarno Yambasef said the initial shake seemed to lift his house off its piles.

"Everything was really rocking. It was a pretty violent shake, and now look at it. The liquefaction is just too much to deal with. The smell of sewage is awful. It reeks in the hall and bedroom. The walls are cracked."

Parker described the quakes as a "hammer blow" for Christchurch but believed most residents would remain resilient, Fairfax News reported.

"I think we will bounce back pretty quickly. For some people this will be a last straw, but I think the vast majority have shown they're here to stay."

The cost of repairing the city has been put at $15.5bn, and even after the latest quakes Prime Minister John Key said the government's resolve to rebuild Christchurch remained unchanged.

New Zealand sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire" the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, and experiences up to 15 000 tremors a year.


  • Vegi - 2011-12-24 09:01

    These catastrophes expose the "wisdom" of civilization represented by modern structures. A large number of people die when the so called modern structures collapse. Our ancestor's oval structures made of natural materials were quake proof, unfortunately they were condemned by the apostles of civilization. If an earthquake were to hit Mgungudlovu of old, no casualties of any kind would result. The same cannot be said of the huge structures with ugly corners.

      Ian - 2011-12-24 09:16

      ok, you better get out of that fancy building you work in as well as your fancy house, while about it no more fancy cars for you either

      Wikkie - 2011-12-24 09:16

      So why did you change? Are you blaming someone? I do not get your point.

      Carlin - 2011-12-24 09:17

      I presume that you will be moving into a reed hut soon. Furthermore the apostles of civilization, while viewing the abodes as quaint, were quite content that your ancestors continued living in them. The ancestors, however, decided they preferred brick and mortar dwellings and moved. I for one will not at all be distressed if you choose to adopt your ancient ancestrors way of life, but I choose not to. Please respect my choice as I will yours. By the way, it is far too cold in NZ to even consider a reed hut so no comparison with Ngungundlovu is appropriate. Please engage thought before you let slip the clutch of the mouth.

      Vegi - 2011-12-24 09:29

      WIKKIE I am not blaming any particular person, I am only blaming the deadly consequences of civilization. Most of the so called advances have such deadly consequences while we would have done without the minimal or useless benefit. Humans deliberately create a need and then manufacture a deadly device to address the need that was not necessary in the first place. We were perfectly fine with our mediaval dwellings until somebody pointed out the need for change of style.

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-24 09:31

      Get off the computer vegi, it is a modern thing, as is the alphabet.

      Brian - 2011-12-24 09:41

      I understand what you are trying to say, but you are misguided in your theory. Your ancestors did NOT live in an earthquake zone, so, by no stretch of the imagination can they be described as being earthquake-proof. Any small circular or oval (or even square) building will not be as badly affected as taller structures during an earthquake. In addition, it is often not the actual earth movement that causes as much damage (to properly constructed buildings) as the liquefaction of the soils beneath the structure. This phenomenon causes massive instability beneath the foundations, causing severe damage. Can you imagine a city the size of Johannesburg constructed entirely of small round or oval huts? "So-called modern structures" ? Not -"so-called" they ARE modern. We live in modern times. You are welcome to "go back to your roots, uncivilised as they were, if you feel unsafe in modern structures. Just don't expect me to join you. As someone has already mentioned, give up with your modern trappings - house, car, computer, cell-phone, clothes and shoes and go back. Bo-one will blame you, but we'll all probably have a good laugh.

      Brian - 2011-12-24 09:42

      Sorry - No-one not Bo-one! Blame christmas!

      almartb - 2011-12-24 10:06

      The only difference is that nobody could let the world know if there was damage to their oval structures, because there was no TV or internet in their ancestory enviroment to report to the world!

      greg.groenewald - 2012-01-01 11:14

      oh my word!...well thanks to 'civilization' you have access to the internet ( hence your pathetic comment above for all of us around the world to read and rip apart ) you would still be wearing grass and I bet you dont live in a mud hut!

  • Wikkie - 2011-12-24 09:15

    God be with the people of the beautiful CHristchurch this Christmas. Our hearts are with you.

  • Peter - 2011-12-24 09:24

    Our prayers go out to you who are affected by this.Stay strong and positive.

  • Vegi - 2011-12-24 09:35

    Wikkie Don't mislead the people of Christchurch, tell them that as long as they dwell in those imposing but fragile structures, disaster will visit them again. Another option is to advise them to move out of the quake prone area. Nature will not change for their sake. The grounds will always rumble as they have done for millenia and no amount of prayer and goodwill wishes will stop that.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-24 11:12

      I'll give you a fact Vegi..mite but never could, as much as your mite might sustain. Here's a clue, the CHCH civil defence did an outstanding job, without our political system in place it could have been worse. Here's the difference between what our infrastructure does including the successful running of a RWC during the time of not just one earthquake but of many not to mention the Pike river mine disaster. Veg head, poke your head out of your ass (mud hut) and get an education, here's an education that Sarah Palin whether confused or not has a valid point regarding your state of well being/community let alone education.

      jowza1 - 2011-12-24 12:00

      well said ibubezi

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 12:03

      @Vegi. That was a very practical solution you offered there and frankly probably the only option the people of Christchurch have. But don't bother to help these nasty people on here. Be grateful we are free from them. These are not the kind of people that stick around when problems arise. If they don't like what is handed down to then in Europe, they come and mess up us here in Africa. If they don't like us Africans for standing up for ourselves, the just pack their bags and go infest another continent. They have spread like a cancer throughout the world. They are not happy if they can't destruct. Look at Bush and Blair. That is just who they are. You and I on the other hand have got some work to do and forget about these counter productive people.

      jowza1 - 2011-12-24 12:06

      ibubezi my man

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-24 12:25

      @Ibu....., I'm tuhoe, definately not white saffa, and to paint a little picture for you, we didn't sign a treaty of Waitangi to be regarded as a New Zealander either. What's wrong bro, are your excuses's a bit of a clue, my last name? Now instead of you're little jibes, I'd suggest that you stop whinging, and while you're at it, one day if you study hard enough you'll get a life, here's the telling factor, because I can read and wright I must be white.......does that answer your question? Kick yourself and then blame me? Are you for real? Kia ora té pakeha te tekór, te wheti nga tekóre

      Garth - 2011-12-24 12:36

      Disappointed iBhubesi, disappointed. Here I was, thinking that you were an intelligent, forward-looking, non-racist, black African and you go and side with an obviously trolling piece of vegetation. The supposed kiwi, sam, is a chop, that has been determined: `read and wright' hey? Frustrations born from observing the never-changing attitudes of others should not tarnish your own attitude. Stay intelligent, stay rational and continue forward. Stay away from the vegetables, otherwise people might mistake you for an anc ignorant. sam: outside! Out! Bad dog! vegi: stew in your own juices.

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 12:36

      Yeh Sam and Eddie Murphy is my cousin! Whatever you are, your New Zealand tribal act isn't quite washing. New Zealanders have far bigger problems on this particular day than sit and sling mud at black South Africans. The mere fact, that at this given moment, with that catastrophe going on, and you spending your time on here, when you should be reaching out a helping hand to your fellow man, is very clear indication of who you really are!

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-24 12:45

      @Ibu..., you're obviously thicker than I thought, name one of my comments where I mentioned Black South Africans, would you like to elaborate, while you're at it, have a look at how many times you've mentioned race/creed? Get an education, you seem to lack something, perhaps an argument? perhaps brains? who knows?

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 12:49

      @Garth. Would you like me to just sit back and allow the world to trample my people further into the ground? My battle on here isn't to get the approval of white people that can help themselves. The mere fact that you have the luxury to come comment on here tells me that you already have the freedom to make the right choices in life. The battle I am facing is keeping my own people objective, midst the mud slinging of whites and particularly of ex South Africans. A very wise black man said on this forum a few nights ago, that the white attitude is actually the tool that makes black people vote for the ANC, election after election. White people are handing the country on a silver platter to the ANC. And isn't that just the truth? Every black man that comes on News24 and reads how deep the white hatred runs, is sure to vote ANC over and over. My task is to help people understand their rights to a democracy. How their vote can change their destiny. But before I can get to help my own people, I still have a way to go to free them from the white hatred. That is just the way it is. I wish it wasn't.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-24 12:52

      @Garth, no worries, I'm not considered as a kiwi either, definately not a supposed Kiwi but I get your point. 100% native

      jowza1 - 2011-12-24 12:59

      sam,obviously you have your own problems there,so please leave us alone and sort your own nonsense out

      Garth - 2011-12-24 13:20

      Ibhubesi(your spelling), I wonder what it will take before you see the white South Africans as `your people' too. And that is why the major problems with racism, class-ism and sexism will never be overcome: everyone is waiting for everyone else to make the first move. When blacks stop seeing whites as Europeans and white Africans stop seeing themselves as Europeans and blacks as Africans, then a small step will have been taken in the right direction. Don't allow the attitudes of others, white or black, asian or coloured to cloud your own attitude or marshal your thinking. Just because, in your opinion, a `wise black man' allows others' attitudes to determine his `ignorance', in my opinion, does not mean that we all should do so and thereby destroy this country, by allowing the ignorant anc to continue with their rape of this country.

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 13:38

      @Garth. EVERYTHING you said in this last post is the truth. And I'm serious. We both read News24 daily and what are we seeing? However hard we may wish that racism doesn't exist, it unfortunately does. Historically my people were made to believe they are second class citizens. Do you want to challenge that fact? My task is to help my people understand that voting along colour lines is giving the ANC a passport to rob us blind. Allow me to defend my people when I see necessary and help them get to a point where their vote will be for a true democracy and not a gang of unscrupulous thieves. While your thought processes are way ahead of racial hate and the counter productivity of it, I must still free my people of it and make them see the new dangers of tomorrow, and that is that this very ANC government is busy giving away this land once more to foreigners. Who will they blame in 10 years? Zuma? He will be a stone monument in front of the Union Buildings and my people will be slaves once again to people from another continent.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-24 14:26

      @Jowza "sam,obviously you have your own problems there,so please leave us alone and sort your own nonsense out" Man, and here I was thinking that the above fore-mentioned article was about Aotearoa, pardon my ignorance, hey man, so what shall we do, after all it's on a Saffa website, your input is most welcome. I don't quite understand? Do you feel the shocks too?

      OzzyIn - 2011-12-24 14:32

      @Vegi, I suggest you acquaint yourself with Christchurch, New Zealand and the New Zealand people before you make ignorant statements. Many of the buildings in Christchurch have stood for over 100 years. Christchurch is not a mega-city with high rise buildings. That some have fallen is due to multiple eartquakes and after-shocks over the last 18-24 months destabilising foundations, walls and rooves. What do you say to people in Pakistan, China and other regions that have had a hundred times greater loss of life due to earthquake and do not live/work in imposing structures? Where do these people move to and what do they live in? New Zealand is also known as the "Shaky Isles" due to the amount of earthquake and volcanic activity in the area. So, due to this, are you saying all of the inhabitants of NZ to move out? Would you like it if South Africa took them in? I bet not. Anyone with half an ounce of sanity knows that prayer will not stop the earthquakes. The prayers are for the people, to give them strength to cope. Finally, you need to show some compassion. It would do you well to take an example from the people of Christchurch with their stoicism and how they have assisted their communities, helping each other, taking in people they do not know, providing shelter and helping each other rebuild their lives and homes.

      Garth - 2011-12-24 14:37

      Hey Ibhubesi. Agree with almost everything you say and more power to you in your righteous `struggle' to uplift `your people'. The disagreement that I have is with your use of that little word that carries too much history, but also a lot of cowardice in it: `blame'. Who do we blame in another 10 years? Why, we blame ourselves of course. Or we pick ourselves up off the ground and get to work, giving us no one to blame. Too many sit around waiting for hand-outs looking for someone else to blame. 17 years mate, 17 years. In 17 years the Japanese had rebuilt their country, admittedly with outside help, from the ashes of WW2. Now, there were no ashes here, except maybe from tyres around innocents' necks. One remarkable difference: the Japanese leaders did not syphon the `hand-outs' into personal accounts and then blame the lack of progress on the imperialistic americans and british or on their emperor, or on the shoguns before him. They set about rebuilding THEIR country. Apartheid is gone, but not forgotten. Don't allow `your people' to make the mistake of polarisation based on racism and ignorance. Ignorance will hand OUR country to the outsiders.

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 15:06

      @Garth. I used the word "blame" in the same context as you are using it. Meaning blaming others have become a convenient excuse to do nothing. Vote ANC today and blame Zuma tomorrow. You get the drift?

      Garth - 2011-12-24 15:14

      Okay iBhubesi, get the drift. Merry Christmas mate and hope that it is safe. And no, I am not religious, it is just that, that saying should convey so much in the way of good intentions and feelings, that I like to use it. It is good for christians and their families. It is good for muslims and jews - makes them money. It is good for us atheists as it means a time for family and friends. So Merry Christmas.

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 15:56

      @Garth Same to you Garth and to all on here.

  • christovb - 2011-12-24 09:51

    Dear Lord, please be with these people. They have suffered a lot this year. Kindly protect them and guide them to the safety of your healing hands and care. We will keep on praying for them and we know you will answer according your will. Show us the way in which we can help them and comfort them in these ultra difficult times. We are far away here in South Africa and we can only pray, we do and think of them. If we had the means we would have gone there and helped. Lord, please open our minds for your wisdom of why these things happen and how you want us to act when it happens...You are the one and only God and we respect and honour that. Please let us never forget all the wonderful things and mercy you bestowed upon us. We will remain humble and grateful for our blessings that we so often take for granted and will serve you humbly and with respect. If countries have to be closer in future to assist each other in times of such emergencies, we have to do that and kindly guide the people who have to initiate that, to get going. Again we can just imagine the freight and discomfort these people in New Zealand are going through. They must know we think of them and we have empathy with them. Please Lord give the people who have to provide medical care and support and psychological assistance to the people in distress, the strength and mental power to execute their duties 100%. Kindly let your blessings and mercy free on them to experience a festive season with joy and happines!

      Vegi - 2011-12-24 10:08

      In as much as I sympathise with the affected people, I am realistic to know that prayer will not stop the aftershocks. In fact nothing will stop the aftershocks. The government must just evacuate the people from the dangerous area, full stop.

      Bongani - 2011-12-24 13:25

      @Vegi. Stand strong Brother. Know this. This very comment you made is the only solution to the Christchurch problem. No amount of praying is going to help. But then again, you are trying to convince people who believe conception is possible without intercourse and the result born from it, came to save the world. If they haven't yet figured out what they should be saved from, how are ever going to get them to save themselves from earth quakes? Be proud of the fact that you can come on a forum like this and stand your ground taking into account that our parents didn't have an education. Can you see the massive strides you have made in your intellectual development? Now imagine the future of our kids if we can progress at this speed? These people berating you in this manner, come from an "educated" history, or so they see themselves. Do you think their "education" has brought them any wisdom if you read these comments? Be proud of yourself and continue to educate yourself without the chains of their restrictive religion and stinking attitudes. Just be you and own your freedom with responsibility. That is where the catch is.

  • Vegi - 2011-12-24 10:00

    Brian, I am merely pointing out that the so called natural disaster is actually man made. If people (me included) want to enjoy their modern trappings, they must cheerfully accept the deadly consequences. Grounds will not stop rumbling because of prayer. Eathquake on its own does not kill, only the dangerous structures that we build do kill. I also appreciate your ill conceived attempt to teach me about liquefaction. I am very grateful to you for this useless piece of information.

      Carlin - 2011-12-24 10:22

      My dear fellow, following the thread of your comments leads me to the understanding that you are so narrow minded you can probably look through a keyhole with both eyes. On that account no further efforts will be wasted on you. Pity, because you otherwise show signs of useful intellect.

  • Craig - 2011-12-24 10:27

    Oh dear

  • Craig - 2011-12-24 10:28

    I hope Bryce Lawrence is OK!

      Facts - 2011-12-24 10:40

      He will be because he is well looked after by the Kiwis.

  • christovb - 2011-12-24 11:17

    Vegi is looking for conversation. You sound like the apartheid regime, if anything was not oval (White), it was bad. Don't you dare decide for me or 6 999 999 person if we should think oval, square, round, tri-angular or whatever. I assume you also think that modern medicine is not good for you? Wake up and smell the roses my friend! It is a festive time for the world and you are missing a lot of joy and happiness! I wish you a blessed festive season and a prosperous 2012! May God bless and protect the people in New Zealand.

  • Aquarius3811 - 2011-12-24 13:15

    What do you expect when you build in geologically hostile places!!!??? Expect more of the same! This applies to anyone living around the Pacific Ring of Fire!? I mean hello... its like going to live on a volcano and being upset when it errupts... New Zealand is a little island that is still growing... how must it grow without earthquakes, and other geological activity???

  • ktheron2 - 2011-12-25 08:28

    Oh dear, indeed. And how is all this supposed to be of comfort to the people in Christchurch? How on earth could you be so callous as to inject typical South African mud-slinging between black and white into a natural disaster where some lost everything, including their lives? It's downright embarrassing.

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