Saturday, September 4, 2010

Canterbury Earthquake

The Canterbury region of the South Island was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake about 4.35 this morning. The epicentre was 40km west of Christchurch and caused widespread damage due to its shallow depth of 10km, but because it was inland there was no risk of a tsunami. There have been a lot of aftershocks, some of them over magnitude 5.
+ No deaths: two serious injuries.
+ A lot of damage to some older brick buildings in Chch.
+ Early reports of looting now erroneous: just a few opportunist thieves.
+ Water mains burst: residents told to conserve water.
+ Power should be restored to 90% of consumers by nightfall: cold temperatures expected overnight. Several days to restore power to rural areas.
+ State of emergency declared: will remain in force in Chch until at least midday Monday.
+ N of Chch., Kaiapoi has ruptured sewage pipes, with effluent leaking onto streets. Residents told to leave town - may be a long time before water/sewerage services restored. Many houses damaged.
+ Civil Defence clearing people out of Chch.CBD, due to danger of falling masonry.
+ Inner-city suburb of St Albans: water mains ruptured and lots of chimneys collapsed.
+ Residents in New Brighton and Brooklands suburbs told to prepare to evacuate, due to flooding/sewage problems.
+ Lyttleton's historic Empire Hotel very unstable.
+ Canterbury University closed for a week [REOPENING MON.13 SEPT.].
+ Water supply at Rolleston 22km SW of Chch contaminated: its sewage treatment has suffered serious damage.
+ Sewer lines and water pipes ruptured in Chch: Civil Defence arranging for water tankers.
+ Chch airport closed: no major damage to runway but domestic terminal damaged [AIRPORT REOPENED SAT.1.30PM].
+ Millions of dollars' damage to Port of Lyttelton wharves: container terminal closed.
+ Reports of severe damage to properties in Hororata, 56km W of Chch.
+ Several small avalanches triggered on Mount Hutt skifield.
+ 200 army troops assisting with safety and security. At Burnham military camp near Chch, top storey of a two-storey building collapsed.
+ 80 police flown in from Auckland, to enforce the overnight curfew [7PM-7AM].
This is one of NZ's top dozen quakes: compare it to the legendary 7.8 Napier earthquake of 1931, which caused the largest loss of life (256) and most extensive damage of any recorded NZ quake. Initial estimates put the total cost of today's damage at over $2 billion.
TVNZ's website is being constantly updated through the day - a good source of current information.
PS: 22 Feb.2011 - Christchurch is hit again! This time, much much worse.

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