By Dylan Moran and Angela Beswick
Several aftershocks have been reported across the Canterbury region following a magnitude 5.8 earthquake this afternoon.
The quake, which struck around 1:58pm, was centered 20km east of the city at a depth of 8km.
The team at 3news.co.nz will bring you any new information as it comes to light - you can find this in the live updates below. If you have photos or videos of today's quakes, send them to email@example.com.
Useful links for Cantabrians;
Buses are still running, but only once every hour on all routes. Buses will run until the normal Friday night finish times (except the last route 5 trip to Southshore, which will depart Central Station at 11:27pm, not 11:57pm).
Buses will operate to their normal Saturday timetables tomorrow.
The following changes to routes are currently in place:
- Route 3 buses are beginning and ending at Sumner Village rather than the normal Sumner terminus
- Route 7 buses are not travelling along Broadhaven Ave, and there is a detour in place at the Beach Rd and Bower Ave intersection
- Routes 18 Huntsbury and 21 Mt Pleasant buses are beginning and ending at the bottom of the hills
- Route 28 is running as normal to Lyttelton, but no buses are running between Lyttelton and Rapaki
- Route 40 is not travelling along New Brighton Rd and is detouring via Anzac Drive instead
- Northern Star services are detouring off a small section of Williams St in Kaiapoi.
Foodstuffs advises the following stores are open;
- Hornby PAK’nSAVE
- Moorhouse PAK’nSAVE
- Halswell New World
- Lincoln New World
- Rangiora New World
- Rolleston New World
The following stores are closed but expected to open tomorrow;
- Bishopdale New World
- Fendalton New World
- Kaiapoi New World
- Ilam New World
- Northwood New World
- Stanmore New World
- South City New World
- Northlands PAK’nSAVE
- Riccarton PAK’nSAVE
- Wainoni PAK’SAVE
A statement from Westfield advises their Riccarton mall will remain closed for today but is expected to re-open at 9am tomorrow.
3news.co.nz editor James Murray has almost arrived in Christchurch. "New World and Countdown are both closed but everything quite calm otherwise," he says.
Federated Farmers says today's quakes have hit rural Canterbury hard, and may have caused damage to grain silos and other infrastructure.
Farmers are asked to contact the organisation if they are without power or have other problems.
The Canterbury City Council says water remains safe to drink and does not need to be boiled. Toilets are also safe to use.
The following Countdown stores are open; Hornby, Rangiora and Rolleston. Countdown have set up a tab on their Facebook page for Cantabrians to see the status of stores. Click here to be taken to the page.
Seismologists are predicting today's large tremors in Christchurch will die down quickly.
GNS scientist Ken Gledhill says he expects today's earthquakes to follow the same sort of pattern as June's aftershocks.
Mr Gledhill says while it's of little solace for Christchurch locals, this series of events only happens once every few thousand years.
Authorities say ChristChurch Cathedral has sustained more damage and full assessments are being carried out on houses in the rockfall area of Port Hills
Civil Defence officials are keeping a close eye on reports of damage, injuries and earthquake impacts in Christchurch.
The National Crisis Management Centre at the Beehive was activated shortly after the first major jolt and remains in operation, but Civil Defence national controller David Coetzee says a state of emergency is unlikely to be declared at this stage.
Updating an earlier report, Christchurch Airport has re-opened. Passengers are being advised to check flight details with their airline, due to delays and diversions.
Superficial damage has been done to terminal buildings, but not enough to force the airport's closure.
Christchurch mayor Bob Parker is on his way to Christchurch from Taupo in an Air Force Orion. He is accompanied by Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee.
An update from 3news.co.nz editor James Murray; who is holidaying in the South Island.
"One man in Amberley is filling up a red petrol can and heading back into Christchurch. "got to get back and dig the old lady out," he says. Another man says there is a crash on the Ashley Bridge and people are being rerouted through Rangiora. He says there are queues for petrol in Christchurch but congestion not too bad."
Christchurch Airport will re-open at 5:20pm, with operations resuming again at 6pm.
3news.co.nz editor James Murray is currently on vacation in the South Island. He says "Amberley petrol stations already have decent sized queues. Looks like people are taking opportunity to fill up before they get to Christchurch."
However, a spokesperson for Z Energy says there will not be a supply problem in the region - all stations have surplus for the holiday season, and a coastal tanker has just delivered more fuel to Lyttelton today.
St John Ambulance says it has received "between 130-150 111 emergency calls since the first earthquake at 1.58pm and have assessed and treated around 50-60 patients with earthquake-related injuries or medical issues."
The Earthquake Commission says Cantabrians will have three months to lodge a claim for damage to property from today's quake.
It will be frightening and disheartening for the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to be experiencing even more earthquakes of such a magnitude, particularly this close to the holiday season, says Prime Minister John Key.
The office of the Prime Minister has released the following statement;
His comments follow two new aftershocks this afternoon, one a magnitude 5.8 at 1.58pm, and a second strong earthquake at 3.19pm.
“My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury at this time,” says Mr Key.
“However, residents can be confident that the authorities are onto the situation and government resources stand ready to assist wherever they are needed.
“My officials are keeping me informed as information comes in.
“The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, Gerry Brownlee, is intending to travel back to Christchurch later this afternoon to assess the situation.
“The Government’s resolve to work with the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to rebuild remains unchanged following today’s two aftershocks,” says Mr Key.
Local residents have spoken to RadioLIVE;
Cantabrian Jason Royal: “from where I’m standing it’s just a
lot of panicked people again, just before Christmas, that look of
disappointment, that look of raw fear and just fingers crossed that that was a
couple of rouge shakes that aren’t going to be the start of another season of
aftershocks for Cantabrians.
Cantabrian Kylie: At first I thought it was the movies
making the ground shake then all of a sudden you could see the mall rolling and
as soon as it stopped everyone just screamed and ran and as we were running
there was another aftershock and I got hit by some falling plaster.
Jade Cooper, working in the Santa stall: “I was standing in
the mall taking a photo of a child on Santa’s knee and suddenly the earthquake
hit and everyone was screaming hysterically and everyone just stopped and
started sprinting and pushing for the doors.
Sumner resident Ken Davies: “Santa’s come early and he can
go away if he’s going to offer those presents. It was probably more sharp, not
as sharp as June or Feb but certainly enough to knock things off the cupboards
Wellington airport is now overloaded as flights have been diverted from Christchurch to the capital.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, on holiday in Taupo but trying to get a flight back to Christchurch, has urged residents to look after their neighbours on RadioLIVE.
"It's the same thing we've been doing for fifteen months now: You check on the neighbours, you check on the vulnerable people. You make sure that folk are OK," he says.
The police have released another statement, saying a stopbank on New Brighton Road has collapsed, as has a partly demolished building on the corner of Barbadoes and Kilmore Streets has collapsed. The Fire Service advises the building is clear.
A vacant house at 81 Aynsley Terrace has also collapsed.
St John Ambluance says it has had 19 emergency callouts, but all were for minor injuries. St John describes its workload as "busy but steady."
"Felt that in Wellington. Top floor of building on Lambton Quay. Sickening swaying for about a minute. #eqnz" says pandemik0.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has confirmed the inner-city red zone has been closed.
Another quake has just struck. UPDATE: GeoNet says this second temblor was 5.8 in magnitude.
The former Dean of the ChristChurch Cathedral spoke to
RadioLIVE, saying this is the last thing people in Christchurch need.
“The city center is not looking too bad, I’m just down here at the moment, we’re
just approaching Christmas and we were thinking ‘maybe, maybe we’re through the
worst of it and we’ve got this one,” he says.
Police have issued an update, confirming four people have been rescued by the Coastguard after a rockfall in Boulder Bay, and a WINZ office in New Brighton has been damaged. All workers were evacuated safely.
This is a breaking news story. The earlier story is below;
Police say Scarborough rockface suffered some collapse but this was mostly contained by containers installed at the bottom of the cliff-face. Rockfalls have also been reported in Sumner.
Phone lines are jammed and Telecom has asked customers to stay off their mobile phones to keep lines free for emergency use. Those wishing to contact people in Christchurch are asked to send them a text message rather than a phone call.
Power company Orion has confirmed outages across the city.
3 News has received unconfirmed reports a building at Christchurch airport has been damaged. The airport has been evacuated.
Christchurch Airport chief executive Jim Boult says buildings, runways and navigation systems are being checked and he expects to reopen this afternoon.
All shopping malls across the city have been evacuated and closed, and police have confirmed one person has been taken to hospital after being injured at Eastgate Mall.
Sirens are sounding across the city and police are patrolling the streets in search of damage.
GeoNet reports the quake was felt as far away as Dunedin, as well as in Greymouth, Ashburton, Queenstown, Hanmer Springs and Oamaru.
Several aftershocks have already occurred since the quake struck at 1:58pm.
The Ministry of Civil Defence is advising locals to expect more aftershocks and "every time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on". If a residence appears unsafe, Civil Defence advises residents to leave these buildings.
The Lyttelton tunnel remains open and police and Civil Defence say there is no risk of a tsunami.
Local resident Jonathan Black says the quake was "quite scary, but not as bad as the February quake".
On social media, the Twitter hashtag #EQNZ has fired up with locals sharing their accounts of the quake.
"First experience of a biggish #eqnz in chch. So many ppl screaming/crying. Tiny insight into how hard it's been for some ppl here." says yvettevy.
"Ground still shaking, like 5 #eqnz in a row, being crushed by a billboard isn't on my xmas wishlist though" says _Annyma.
"5th equal largest shake since Sept 2010 and the aftershocks keep coming. Hold tight Christchurch #eqnz" says quicknotist.
This is a breaking news story, more to follow
3 News / RadioLIVE