Aftershocks rattle Christchurch

NZ Herald - Simon Baker

CHRISTCHURCH residents have had a rocky start to Christmas Day as aftershocks continue to rattle the battered city.

Almost 60 earthquakes have shaken the city since a magnitude 5.8 event struck at 1.58pm on Friday, disrupting essential services and damaging roads and homes.

Ten shallow quakes as large as magnitude 3.7 have struck since midnight alone.

The council and infrastructure providers yesterday scrambled to get services back up and running in time for Christmas.

Mayor Bob Parker said it was important to get emergency repair work done by the end of Christmas Eve so staff could enjoy today with their families.

A Christmas lunch is being put on at Christchurch East School by the City Mission.

The Student Volunteer Army is coordinating a two-day clean-up beginning tomorrow. Those wanting to help out should show up at a volunteer centre at the Queen Elizabeth II carpark from 9am.

Federated Farmers said the latest quakes came at the busiest time of the year for the farming community, so the Farmy Army would not be able to mobilise as it did after the February and June quakes.

Individual farmers who wanted to help could turn up at the volunteer centre and were asked to bring their own equipment, such as trailers, shovels and wheel barrows.

Those unable to shovel silt could contribute food to distribute.

About 30 homes were still without power yesterday and power supplies remained fragile in New Brighton and Bexley, where emergency diesel generators were in use.

Liquefaction damage and flooding had caused problems on roads in the eastern suburbs, some of which remain closed.

Contractors were yesterday busy clearing roads and filling in potholes to assist access and make roads safe.

Rock falls and cliff collapses have been contained by temporary protection measures installed before Friday's quake. People were reminded to stay away from the Port Hills unless they lived or needed to be there.

Mains water was cut off to Sumner but has since been restored. Water was also shut off temporarily in some streets while repairs were carried out.

The Christchurch wastewater plant was up and running but there were overflows into the Avon River and the Styx. People have been advised to stay away from rivers, estuaries and beaches.

Civil Defence staff, neighbourhood volunteers and welfare teams yesterday went door-knocking to check up on the welfare of households and to gather information from the badly affected areas.

All council buildings have been closed pending structural examinations, while a block of flats on Salisbury St was yesterday evacuated.

People who are worried about the safety of their homes should contact a building professional as soon as they are able, while commercial building owners should get their properties checked out by engineers.

Topics:  christchurch

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