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Pattaya Daily News

05 September 2010 :: 14:09:59 pm 37570

New Zealand Suffers Worst Earthquake in Over 40 Years

A series of gale force winds and aftershocks have hit Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand with a 7.1 magnitude on Saturday 4th September.
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New Zealand, 5th September 2010: New Zealand’s Christchurch, on the South of the island and surrounding areas, has suffered the worst quake and gale force winds since 1968 (which killed three people), with strong aftershocks, hampering emergency services.

An imposed curfew between Saturday night and Sunday that was intended for the safety of the inhabitants from falling debris has been lifted although parts of the country remain cordoned off with gale force winds reaching 80mph being forecasted for Sunday that may affect already unstable buildings that appear ready to collapse. City Mayor Bob Parker has described the damage as ‘immense’ and in a state of emergency has been declared.

Roads have been ripped up, water and sewerage pipes smashed and power lines brought down. More than 500 buildings have been damaged say officials. Prime Minister John Key stated that it is a miracle no one was killed and so few injured.

Power is said to have been restored in large areas and although water has been restored to around 80% it is unsafe to drink due to contamination from broken sewerage pipes. Around 300 people have been displaced from their homes and are staying in emergency centers with around 1,000 people being fed by welfare groups. A state of emergency is in force, enabling authorities to control and co-ordinate cleanup operations in the city.

After a tour of the city, Prime Minister Key has said the clean up and reconstruction of the city could take up to a year and is not a short term thing. The quake has been recorded as one of the 10 strongest ever recorded in New Zealand which lies at the southern end of the Pacific Ring of Fire and sits between the Pacific and Indo-Australian tectonic plates where 14,000 earthquakes a year is recorded of which only 20 top magnitude 5.0.

The initial estimate for the cost of damage caused by earthquakes are around NZ$ 2 billion, but Prime Minister Key said the Earthquake Commission which is a stat disaster fund has sufficient assets to cover claims.

Reggie Colbeck

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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