New Zealand PM: Quakes frightening

2011-12-23 07:29

Wellington - The latest powerful earthquakes to hit the devastated New Zealand city of Christchurch are "frightening and disheartening" for its beleaguered residents, Prime Minister John Key said on Friday.

But, although seismologists have said the tremors will continue to rattle the city for a long time to come, Key said the government's resolve to rebuild Christchurch remains unchanged.

Two quakes of magnitude 5.8 and a series of strong aftershocks hit the city on Friday, sending people fleeing into the streets, closing the international airport and disrupting communications.

They were the latest in a series of tremors which began 15 months ago and have destroyed much of the inner-city, with the most deadly tremor in February killing 181 people.

"It will be frightening and disheartening for the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to be experiencing even more earthquakes of such a magnitude, particularly this close to the holiday season," Key said.

"My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury at this time," he said, referring to the city and the surrounding region.

The cost of the quakes to New Zealand's second-largest city has been estimated at up to NZ$20bn.

  • Gustav - 2011-12-23 08:03

    "Seismologists have said this will continue for a long time" Why do they still live there? Move to another town.

      Donovan - 2011-12-23 08:10

      Not as simple as that Gustav. Christchurch is New Zealand's second biggest city, you can't just up sticks and cruise...

      john.hainsworth - 2011-12-23 08:18

      Spoken like a true idiot....

      Sharon - 2011-12-23 08:39

      Can understand if you still stay THERE, but why do you stay next to a volcano???

      Rodney - 2011-12-23 08:48

      Lol u sir are a idiot., ignorance sure is bliss

      elmarie.viola - 2011-12-23 09:57

      They probably stay there for exactly the same reasons a lot of us still stay in South Africa, despite the constant social upheavals we continually witness - the human condition is to keep on believing things will get better.... Thinking of the people in Christchurch and surrounding areas, and people in South Africa that has family there.

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-23 15:30

      Bryce Lawrence must have thought he was being attacked by a hoard of angry Springbok fans.

      Leon - 2011-12-23 21:03

      ....and we still stay in SA

  • Angus - 2011-12-23 08:15

    I reckon after a particular place has been hit by more than one quake and is recognized as a "hot-spot," then it is time to shut down the town and relocate the folks and leave at least a 60km zone free of building, commerce & residential. Why throw an entire country into financial trouble by throwing good money into a known trouble zone. Forget sentiment, just move on.

      James - 2011-12-24 01:10

      Nah rubbish. Christchurch is not a "Hot Spot", no more so than anywhere else in New Zealand. In fact, Wellington was always considered much more at risk as it sits on top of the main fault line. What Christchurch has experienced is a large earthquake of 7.1 magnitude which has triggered a sequence of normal aftershocks. The GeoNET website has a published set of data established from other historical earthquake patterns worldwide. The number and size of the aftershocks on every given day has matched that data like for like. They have always said these quakes will continue and that a quake of up to magnitude 6.0 was likely in the coming twelve months. Christchurch is experiencing a normal aftershock pattern and lots of energy is being released from fault lines that have been inactive for centuries. The Centre of Christchurch has been cleared pending individual site reviews for rebuilding and the area is expected to settle. "Hot Spots" as you described are not formed over less than two years they are formed over centuries.

  • NickvanderLeek - 2011-12-23 09:24

    Hectic. Someone described New Orleans as a modern case of nature ruining a city (on par with Atlantis) and here's possibly another one already. Because it looks like a natural disaster is making this place potentially unlivable; certainly pretty unsafe. If you look at Pompeii, completely devastated, many of its buildings were destroyed in a major earthquake 17 years before the fatal eruption. Not saying a volcanic eruption will happen in NZ, just that these cycles of crustal instability can last a while, and cripple a community economically and otherwise. And as climate change manifests, I wonder what other cities will be devastated or destroyed?

  • Munchk1n - 2011-12-23 09:35

    My heart goes out to everyone who has suffered through these quakes, and I wish everyone strength to carry on. While it may be very difficult for everyone to re-locate, especially with scarcity of jobs and housing, it may ultimately be the best solution.

      Ianm - 2011-12-23 09:56

      It's similar to the people living in Oklahoma and on the tornado belt. those things happen every year, but they still go back and rebuild. I know it's not earthquakes, but why live there?

  • Xenswim1 - 2011-12-23 10:30

    What no blaming climate change?

      komorison - 2012-03-21 11:09

      Haha, yes indeed, not blaming climate change. I was also looking out for that. However since it is mostly been proved a grand hoax, we're into saving animal species now. My heart goes out to those suffering in such a difficult time.

  • toibry - 2011-12-23 20:13

    Why do the nations rage and the people's plot in vain?

  • Blip - 2011-12-24 04:03

    Christchurch isn't anywhere near a volcano. Auckland, however, is. Nearly 150 million Japanese live in an even more explosive "ring-of-fire" country.

  • philip.auger - 2011-12-24 12:12

    I live in Chch, the press tend to give the worse examples of everything. Sure lots of peoples lives have been affected badly but the majority are copeing ok. Personally i have had no property damage, no loss of business and generally unaffected. The earthquakes are moving west to east, the lastest ones were 10km east of the coastline and edge of the city. The Feburary earthquake was under the eastern side of the city and the June ones on the eastern edge. The goverment has gone to great lengths to determine which buildings are safe and which are not, roads considered dangerous are closed etc etc. This is why in the lastest quakes noone died and only one person (out of 350,000) was seriously injuried. Even if there was a earthquake worse than the pervious ones under the city its unlikely there will be loss of life or serious injuries. I'll take chch over Joburg for my personal safety any day!

      ktheron2 - 2011-12-25 09:10

      So true, Phillip! More people die in SA from crime than people from earthquakes.

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