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Quake updates: Aftershocks continue to rumble

Monday 06 Sep 2010 9:23a.m.

Quake updates: Aftershocks continue to rumble

3news.co.nz continues our coverage of the Canterbury earthquake. Check back here for regular updates.

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All classes at the University of Otago's Christchurch campus have been cancelled this week. There has been no major structural damage but there is "significant internal cleaning needs" a spokesperson said.

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Aftershocks are continuing to rumble around the region. Close to 100 have been recorded since the initial earthquake on Saturday. The latest on GeoNet was at 9:20pm measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale and 20km south-east of Darfield. Several people on Facebook reporting another aftershock at around 10:00pm.

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Bus services will resume as normal tomorrow with commuters warned to expect delays. The 51 to New Brighton and 480 to Kainga have been cancelled until further notice.

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Government says it will be tricky to deal with those in Christchurch who don't have insurance. "They will have to prove they are truly in hardship", John Key says.

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The Government has received messages of support from Australian PM Julia Gillard, UK PM David Cameron, from Tonga, Israel, Singapore, the United Nations and from Princes William and Harry.

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There is $94m immediately available in an emergency fund for roading.

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Gerry Brownlee has been named the Minister responsible for earthquake recovery and will be based in Christchurch.

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A mayoral fund has been established to assist local residents who have been immediately affected. There have been $6m worth of contributions so far.

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The Government has met to respond to the earthquake in Christchurch and says it will offer $5m to relief efforts. The Civil Defence Minister is meeting with local mayors and officials to resolve the issue of water; both supply and waste. Estimated 100,000 homes in greater Christchurch are damaged beyond repair. The Minister of Finance has talked to banks and IRD officials to discuss how they will account for the impact of the earthquake on business.

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Parts of the suburb of Bexley have been evacuated after many houses were deemed unfit for human habitation.

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The three Canterbury councils have asked other regional council to hold-off on offers of help until they have decided what the region needs the most. The Canterbury councils have been "inundated" with offers of help from other regional bodies following Saturday's 7.1 magnitude earthquake.

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Police have moved cordons for the centre of Christchurch which is now bounded by Cambridge, Gloucester, Madras and St Asaph streets. A cordon remains in place on the Cranford and Westminster St area.

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The Department of Conservation is asking people to stay clear of tracks and huts in the Canterbury area until they have been checked by DOC officials. Fallen debris and damaged structures could pose a risk, says Mike Slater of DOC.

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City residents are tentatively returning to their damaged homes to collect belongings, although some are still moving out of damaged homes.

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Police have cordoned off Westminster and Cranford streets and are asking the public not to enter this area after a building partially collapsed. There is the very real danger of falling debris, fire southern communications shift manager Andrew Norris says.

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Suffered earthquake damage to your property or vehicle? Follow this link for an earthquake damage claim form.

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The Copthorne Hotel at Durham St has suffered some damage and is currently closed.

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The aftershock at 12:35pm caused a group of buildings to collapse in the Christchurch CBD. A man and woman managed to escape despite onlookers believing they had been trapped inside.

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A number of listed companies have formally advised investors of the impact of Saturday's impact on their businesses in notices to the stock exchange. Lyttelton Port is fully operational despite suffering severe damage. Goodman Fielder said it sustained minimal damage to its operations and Fletcher Building said all its businesses in the region have escaped without much damage.

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Another strong aftershock hit Christchurch at 12:35pm. It measured 4.5 on the Richter Scale and struck 30km West of the city centre.

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From 3 News at 12: This morning some Christchurch business owners were allowed back in through the city cordon for the first time; the army has moved in to assist Christchurch police; and Canterbury University students have given up their holidays to help with the relief effort.

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Fletcher Building Ltd, New Zealand's largest building company, is donating $1 million to help those who suffered losses in the Canterbury earthquake at the weekend, and to help the recovery.

The donation was announced this morning by chief executive Jonathan Ling.

The company was working through the most appropriate way for this support to be delivered, he said.

Fletcher Building said its businesses in the Christchurch region all escaped without significant damage or injury to employees.

All businesses were expected to be fully operational in the next few days.

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The Government is considering helping out affected residents who don't have their own insurance. Cabinet is due to discuss the issue today.

"A lot of people do believe that they can not have insurance and that it will be alright," says Insurance Council CEO Christopher Ryan. " At this time it can be very difficult and quite devastating for their families if they don't have insurance."

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There are two confirmed cases of gastroenteritis at a welfare centre in Linwood.

The two sufferers have been removed from Linwood College, but they're not being taken to hospital because there's a high risk of infection.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey says the focus is on isolation.

"I understand that the nurse at that welfare centre has isolated those cases on our advice, and is keeping them separate from the other people at the welfare centre."

Dr Humphrey says he expects more cases to be reported in the coming days.

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The state of emergency in Christchurch has been extended to at least Wednesday.

Much of the central city is still blocked off while damage to buildings and infrastructure is assessed.

Schools, kindergartens and early childhood centres have been closed until at least Wednesday, likely for at least a week.

“Safety is paramount and the time will be used for the ongoing assessments to ensure school buildings are safe and to make sure water and sanitation is clean in school grounds," says Karen Sewell of the Ministry of Education.

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Anyone wanting to access the Christchurch CBD is being asked to go to the corner of St Asaph and Colombo Sts, or the corner of Colombo and Armagh Sts. Police say no one will be allowed through any other checkpoint.

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The Red Cross says it is amazed at how few people have used the emergency shelters established after Saturday morning's devastating quake.

Red Cross Canterbury area manger, Carol Ball, says hundreds have utilised the service - some needing reassurance, others because they've been displaced.

But she says that's very few given the circumstances.

"For a city of this size, with the amount of damage that is apparent, it is phenomenal that we don't have thousands and thousands through the emergency centre," says Ms Ball. "We're just a very self-sufficient nation."

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The Unite Union in Christchurch says workers have flooded their offices with calls and text messages, concerned employers will use the quake as an excuse not to pay wages from days not worked.

"Many workers at Christchurch's restaurants, cinemas, hotels and security firms are worried that they will not be paid for the working days lost because of the earthquake," sys organiser Matt Jones.

"Union members with young children have also been calling us concerned that their employer will force them to work before schools and childcare centres reopen after Wednesday.

"John Key will bail out property owners and big business using state cash but who will help out the thousands of low paid Christchurch workers who have lost jobs and incomes because of the quake?"

Mr Jones says a social disaster will follow the natural one if employers abandon their workers.

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Christchurch mayor Bob Parker believes Cantabrians have so far been quite lucky with the weather, but warns they're not out of the woods yet.

High winds brought down trees, and heavy rain doused open power lines overnight, but Bob Parker says it could have been far worse.

He says the city didn't get the severe windstorm expected overnight, but he's now worried about a very cold change coming later in the day.

"Red Cross have sent down I think 2000 tarps from a store in Auckland, and blankets have come down as well," says Mr Parker, "but clearly if we get a significant rain event, there are issues right across the city because the stormwater – which we haven't had to worry about until now – has been damaged."

Mr Parker says he is also concerned river beds appear to have changed shape quite dramatically in some areas.

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As the work continues in Canterbury today assessing the huge damage to buildings and infrastructure from the earthquake, Prime Minister John Key has given an assurance the Government will foot the bill.

Mr Key and Cabinet ministers are to be briefed this morning on the impact of the 7.1 magnitude quake.

He says it'll take years before Christchurch is back to normal.

Treasury has given the Prime Minister a preliminary cost estimate of $2 billion, and Mr Key told Marcus Lush the recovery won't be left to ratepayers to pay.

Mr Key says Cabinet will also discuss what can be done for those without insurance, which could be about 10 percent of homeowners.

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Some Christchurch residents are getting frustrated with the focus from authorities and media on the city's CBD. Anita Ireland told 3news.co.nz the estimate of 500 damaged buildings is woefully underestimated.

"How can the news report no deaths, when all houses haven't even been visited?" she asks. "My brother has been looking after an elderly neighbour until her daughter picked her up this morning. There is only one house in his street that appears to have no damage at all, so I believe the 500 buildings damaged that is being reported is not portraying the true picture."

She says no one from Civil Defence or the police has been out to the suburbs.

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New Zealanders need to check that their emergency management kits are up to scratch, according to Ministry of Civil Defence Public Education Manager Chandrika Kumaran. Read the full story here.

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Check out the latest 3news.co.nz readers' pictures from Christchurch. Have any you want to send us? Email noles@tv3.co.nz.

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3 News / RadioLIVE / NZPA

 
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08-08-2014 12:00