Big Shocks Still Felt In Christchurch, Schools Closed

The brave people of Christchurch are still having to endure large aftershocks following yesterday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the city and the surrounding area.

Along with a photograph of an exhausted family at the Linwood School emergency shelter, ‘s latest news update said:

Some of the largest aftershocks since yesterday morning’s 7.1 earthquake are reportedly being felt in Christchurch. Staff at the Christchurch civil defence emergency centre said one jolt about 10 minutes ago felt a lot bigger than recent shocks.

“We had one just now, in the last two minutes, and one ten minutes ago that definitely felt very big. It was very shaky,” a spokesperson said. GeoNet’s last reported quake, at 1.04pm, measured 5.0 on the Richter scale and hit 20km north-east of Leeston. The biggest aftershock since the 7.1 quake measured 5.1, at 5.20am this morning, 10km south of Darfield.”

There seems to be no respite for the poor people of Christchurch, our thoughts are with them and we hope that some semblance of normality returns to their lives soon.

Kaiapoi, Darfield and Hororata

Radio New Zealand reported on the cleanup being hampered by strong winds and that there has been substantial damage in some of the rural areas including Darfield and Hororata:

In Kaiapoi, north of Christchurch, strong winds are making the earthquake cleanup more difficult, as digger operators battle conditions akin to a dust storm. Large parts of the town centre and a big portion of the residential area are cordoned off, with at least 20 partly collapsed buildings. Resident Ray Rochford says the constant flow of sightseers to the town is distressing some locals, who are still in a state of shock.

Substantial damage is reported in rural areas, including Darfield and Hororata.

Stuff is also reporting that Civil Defence head, John Hamilton, has told them that offers of help from the US military have been turned down:

New Zealand had turned down offers of support from the US military, based in Hawaii, and the UN he said. This was met with surprise, he said.

The army and Burnham and some additional troops in Linton are available to help police but so far weren’t required, he said.

Ninety per cent of the city has power, he said, but there are issues in the rural areas with power and drinking water.

The Ministry of Education’s website gives information on school closures

Schools and early childhood centres in Christchurch, Waimakariri, and Selwyn districts will be closed until at least Wednesday 8 September in response to the earthquake.

This follows the Chief Medical Officer of Health advising all public buildings are to remain closed until Wednesday.

Outside of these areas, boards and service providers will need to consider health and safety issues, the condition of their school, centre, and infrastructure, including whether water is available and safe, but also roads and power. If boards decide to close a school, they should inform the Ministry of Education when they are able to do so.

And the AMI rugby stadium is locked down until engineers declare that it’s safe:

‘There is a lot of damage and breakage to fixtures and fittings. But that is relatively minor stuff… lights, glassware, ornaments, paintings, mirrors and that sort of stuff,” source

Geonet is currently reporting the latest quakes as  follows

Sunday 5 Sept 2010

1:04 pm
* Magnitude: 5.0
* Depth: 12 km
* Details: 20 km south-west of Lyttelton

12:43 pm
* Magnitude: 4.3
* Depth: 12 km
* Details: 20 km north-east of Leeston

12:27 pm
* Magnitude: 3.9
* Depth: 5 km
* Details: 10 km south-west of Darfield

12:19 pm
* Magnitude: 4.3
* Depth: 12 km
* Details: 20 km west of Christchurch

10:23 am
* Magnitude: 3.5
* Depth: 7 km
* Details: 10 km north-east of Springfield

10:15 am
* Magnitude: 4.3
* Depth: 15 km
* Details: 20 km south-west of Christchurch

10:03 am
* Magnitude: 4.1
* Depth: 7 km
* Details: 20 km south-west of Christchurch

There have been 30 30 quakes since 10.38pm last night