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Friday, December 23, 2011

New Zealand : Dozens injured in Christchurch quakes

Via The Sydney Morning Herald :

" Large earthquakes have rattled Christchurch residents just two days from Christmas, a devastating reminder of the blow the city was dealt in February.

Dozens of people received minor injuries and three unoccupied buildings collapsed when two major quakes, measuring 5.8 and 6.0, hit the city on Friday afternoon.

They were centred offshore, between 10km and 20km east of the city, at depths between 6km and 10km, according to GNS Science.

Two lesser ones measured 5.3 and 5.0.

The swarm of quakes continued into the evening, adding stress for already quake-weary locals.

Last-minute Christmas shopping and travel was abandoned after widespread evacuations of shopping malls, buildings and Christchurch Airport, and roads around the city became congested as people rushed to get home.

Civil Defence was advising people not to travel unless it was essential, with restricted bus services operating to help people get home.

The CBD red zone, devastated by February's quake which killed 182, had shut down, and while the ChristChurch Cathedral suffered more damage on Friday, other central city buildings had held up well, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton said.

Police warned people to stay away from suburbs in the hills, as slips and rocks crashed down following the quakes.

The eastern suburbs were again hit by significant liquefaction and flooding, which had seen many homes declared unsafe to live in back in February."

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