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Friday, December 23, 2011

New Zealand : Christchurch shakes in swarm of aftershocks

Via Radio NZ :

" Christchurch has continued to be shaken by aftershocks - one as large as six on the Richter scale - hours after the initial earthquake at 1.58pm on Friday afternoon.

The quakes have injured dozens of people although none seriously. Fewer than 20 people have been hospitalised. The initial 5.8 earthquake struck at 1.58pm on Friday and has been followed by a swarm of aftershocks.

A 6-magnitude tremor hit at 3.18pm and another measuring 5 at 4.50pm.

All have been centred in Pegasus Bay between 10 and 20 kilometres east of Christchurch at depths as shallow as 6km.

While the quakes have been under the sea, specialists say there is no tsunami threat.

The quakes cut power, damaged buildings and temporarily closed the city's airport.

People fled buildings and eye-witnesses say the force of the shaking threw some to the ground.

Rocks have also been brought down from cliffs in seaside suburbs sparking warnings from police for people to stay away from hillside suburbs.

Residents are being asked to boil all water in case supplies have been contaminated by sewage.

Christchurch City Council has established an emergency operations centre at the council offices in Tuam Street.

However, the National Civil Defence Controller says Christchurch emergency and council services say they do not need extra help from the national organisation at this stage.

The shaking raised new liquefaction problems for Christchurch's eastern suburbs and flooding has covered a number of roads."

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