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Friday, December 23, 2011

Lagi Gempa di Christchurch (stuff)

LATEST: A swarm of quakes - including a magnitude 6 and three at or above magnitude 5 - have hit Christchurch, toppling already damaged buildings, injuring residents and disrupting power, phone services and retailers.

The first quake - magnitude 5.8 quake, 8km deep and centred 20km north east of Lyttelton - struck at 1.58pm, GeoNet said. It was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake at 2.06pm, a magnitude 6 quake - the largest - at 3.18pm and a 5.0, just 10 km deep, at 4.50pm.

Did you feel the quake? Email your news, video and photos to us at newstips@stuff.co.nz

The quakes were felt as far south as Queenstown and as far north as Lower Hutt, according to GeoNet. People in Greymouth, Ashburton, Dunedin, Hanmer Springs and Oamaru also felt them.


A partly demolished building and a vacant house have collapsed following today's quakes, police said.

There were still no reports of widespread damage or injury, but there had been significant rockfall at Redcliffs, police spokesman Stephen Hill said.

A stopbank on New Brighton Road had also collapsed, and there were reports of major holes on Broadhaven Ave and liquefaction in Avonside.

Earlier today, Hill said four people had to be rescued after they were trapped by a rockfall in Boulder Bay.

One person, who was at the Eastgate Mall in Linwood, had been injured and was taken to hospital.

The WINZ building in New Brighton had suffered some damage and staff had to be evacuated.

Many malls were closed and police patrolled streets for damage.

Roads were gridlocked as people tried to rush home, but police warned motorists to slow down and drive with care. Drivers were urged to stay away from the hill suburbs as there was a risk of further rockfalls.

The Lyttelton Tunnel remained open.

St John Ambulance responded to at least 19 people with various injuries. They included six people who collapsed, two people who had seizures, one person who had a panic attack, and one person who received a knock to their head, St John Regional Operations Manager Chris Haines said.

One person was also treated by St John after having a minor car accident.

Other injuries included chest pain and anxiety issues and six people were treated for "unknown issues", Haines said.


The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated in response to the quakes.

Phone services were disrupted and about 26,000 Orion customers were without power in the eastern suburbs, including New Brighton and Dallington.

Power company Orion said it appeared the power was out due to tripping caused by shaking rather than damage to equipment. Crews were out assessing the damage.

Christchurch Airport was evacuated and flights cancelled after the first quake. Fairfax reporter Hamish Rutherford, who was at the airport when the first quake struck, said alarms had sounded, people had left the building, and were waiting outside.

He said people kept calm while the building rocked from side to side during the first strong quake, which lasted about 20 seconds.

Christchurch Airport general manager Jim Boult said the runways and the terminal buildings were cleared of any damage late this afternoon and flights should resume from 6pm.

Boult warned there would be considerable disruption to many flights. ''I think it will be well into tomorrow before we clear the backlog,'' he told Radio New Zealand.

A lot of people had left the airport in their cars to return to their homes to check on their loved ones and properties, he said.

Telecom said there had been no significant disruption to its services as a result of the quake.

But disruption to main power supplies meant that some equipment was operating on battery and generator backup.

Telecom was asking people to use texts rather than calling in order to ease the load on its mobile networks.

Emergency calling remains operational, it said.


A visitor to the city said Westfield Mall was evacuated after the first shake. Terrified shoppers stumbled and fell as they fled the mall and items tumbled off shelves.

People shopping and working at the mall were almost in tears as they spoke of another Christmas marred by earthquakes.

Noelene Barron, who worked in the mall, said after the first quake that, while it was frightening, the worst thing was knowing that there were likely to be ongoing aftershocks now.

Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale said the shakes came at the worst possible time for retailers, as people completed their Christmas shopping.

Ballantynes department store had closed for the day, even though it was brought up to 100 per cent of the earthquake code, after the February shake, he told Radio New Zealand.

"It's really the last thing we needed - a shake just before Christmas," he said.

"We've had a hell of a year really in many respects.

"We thought it was close to being over, but perhaps not quite."

Clinical psychologist Maureen Mooney said the quakes would have put people back on heightened awareness, as they struck just as they had thought the aftershocks were dying out.

It was not possible to say how the proximity of the quakes to Christmas would affect people, she said.

Some would take comfort in being with friends and family when the quakes struck, others would have been shaken by having them hit just as they were trying to relax for Christmas.


Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority head Roger Sutton was at home ready for the holidays when the first quake hit.

"I thought 'bugger'," he said.

"I've been at home checking on family. I'm running to work."

Sutton seemed agitated, saying he had been stuck in traffic and had yet to a get a briefing.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker was at Lake Taupo getting ready to celebrate Christmas with his family when the quake hit.

He said he was desperately trying to get back home and was expected to land in Christchurch after 7.30pm.

"I've been texting family members to see if everyone is okay, everyone is very shaken. I haven't heard any more significant problems at the moment.

"Inevitably it would have caused damaged to structures, we hope it hasn't unsettled any rock falls, and we just have to hope the liquefaction issues don't return."

Parker said he felt "really worried" and wanted to get home.

"The randomness of this sort of event is very unsettling for everybody."

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has cut short a family holiday just hours in to it, and is this afternoon headed for Christchurch to assess the damage.

Prime Minister John Key said he was being kept up to date on the latest quakes as information came in.

It would be "frightening and disheartening" for the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to be experiencing the strong quakes, particularly so close to the holiday season, he said.

"My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury at this time," Key said.

"However, residents can be confident that the authorities are onto the situation and government resources stand ready to assist wherever they are needed.

"The Government's resolve to work with the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to rebuild remains unchanged following today's two aftershocks," Key said.

Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner is not in Christchurch but said her she had spoken to her staff who reported liquefaction in the streets in the eastern part of the city.

Wagner was in Cheviot, North Canterbury, when the first quake struck but said she felt the shaking.

She called her office who told her the house of one of her staff that had been damaged in an earlier quake had suffered further.

"They're a bit nervous about going into it and liquefaction is coming up in the streets there, that's in the east."


St Martins resident Jo Davis said she could hear sirens and was hoping there weren't injuries from the latest quakes.

"I was terrified, I guess just because it's been so long since we've had a decent one. We've had a TV and glasses fall over but no repeat of liquefaction like in June so I guess it's not so bad.

"There were four kids here since it's school holidays and the two-year-old in the sandpit was the least worried. The neighbours were screaming."

Staff and visitors at the Ferrymead Heritage Park clung to each other as the first quake hit and emptied shelves in the gift shop.

''It was horrible - not as bad as the February one but horrible just the same,'' a staff member said.

''We clung to each other - it seemed to go on for a long time.

''There was a noise but there were lots of noises - the quake and then everything falling off shelves.''

No major damage to the park or its buildings at the foot of the Port Hills was immediately apparent.

June Goodman, a Papanui retiree was waiting for a flight to Hamilton for a five day tour of the North Island when the first earthquake hit. She said while she had learned to cope with the quakes today's shake was clearly large.

"It was quite a ripple - I couldn't believe it. It was like a ripple going across the floor, that's how I felt it - some of them are a violent shake but that was more like a wave."

Anthony Surynt was working in an electrical workshop in Sydenham when the 1.58pm quake struck.

He said it was the biggest one he has felt since June 13, when a 6.3 magnitude hit the city.

He could see the Grand Chancellor from where he was and said it was still standing.

Nothing had fallen off the shelves but it was quite a scare as there hadn't been many large earthquakes in the area for a while, he said.

It lasted for about 10 to 15 seconds, but didn't have any sharp "vicious movements" like the previous quakes had caused.

Shirley resident Jenny Dalziel said the first quake was about 10 seconds long and shook things off shelves.

She said she was driving to her mother's house and had spotted liquefaction bubbling up in some areas though it did not appear as serious as previous quakes.

Vanya Rothwell, of Linwood, was at Eastgate with her daughter and grandson. They were in their car in the parking lot.

"It felt as if we were towing a trailer or had hit another car and then it started to really bounce the car."

They got out of the car when aftershocks hits. People were running out of the mall screaming, and children were crying, Rothwell says.


Last year, Christchurch was rocked by a series of earthquakes on Boxing Day, with more than two dozen recorded.

A 4.9-magnitude quake at 10.30am was the 17th most powerful since the damaging 7.1 quake on September 4.

The earthquake that caused the most damage hit on February 22, killing 182 people.

- © Fairfax NZ News

Source (Kopi Pasta): stuff
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