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Christchurch aftershock upgraded to 5.4

Wednesday 22 Jun 2011 10:17 a.m.

The aftershock has been upgraded to a magnitude 5.4

The aftershock has been upgraded to a magnitude 5.4

An aftershock which rocked Christchurch overnight has been upgraded to a magnitude 5.4.

The quake, one of a series of significant aftershocks, will potentially disrupt schools in the region today.

Ministry of Education guidelines say schools should have structural checks carried out by engineers every time a magnitude 5 or greater earthquake strikes.

Christchurch Boys High School has closed its doors to staff and pupils today.

Speaking on RadioLIVE this morning Principal Trevor McIntyre says the decision was made late last night.

“We decided that – particularly given the amount of aftershocks we had through the night as well – we would not require students and staff to be in today so that the engineers could check the buildings thoroughly.”

Lincoln High School has also opted to stay closed today.

The series of unsettling aftershocks overnight have further unnerved residents who are already fleeing the city in droves.

The most powerful of the aftershocks – a magnitude 5.3 - struck at around 10:30pm and led to the closure of the airport as the runway was inspected for damage.

New World supermarket in Halswell has reportedly sustained more damage in the aftershock than it did during either the February 22 or June 13 quakes.

A staff member said “everything fell off the shelf” and the store lost an “extensive amount of stock”, with wine and juice bottles smashed in the aisles.

Resident Jo Starr says she is leaving the Christchurch suburb of Bexley and taking her family to the North Island.

Speaking on RadioLIVE this morning she said the family had visited Tauranga, which changed their perspective.

“We thought, we don’t have to be victims here. We could make a change,” she says.

Latest immigration figures show an accelerated departure rate from Christchurch.

Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that a final decision on which areas of Christchurch can never be rebuilt will be announced tomorrow – when the Prime Minister visits the city.

John Key met with ministers last night to discuss progress and it is thought that he won’t want to arrive in Christchurch without at least some information for residents.

“We’re keen to get as much information as possible to the people of Christchurch,” he says.

“We know the anxiety levels are high and I want to share. Look it could be this week, but I can’t guarantee it.”

Last week Mr Key and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said it was blindingly obvious which areas have suffered damage. Mr Key now says they’re close to a final decision.

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