Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christchurch City (New Zealand) from the Port ...Image via Wikipedia Christchurch rocked by another powerful aftershock - locals nerves frayed...

Christchurch, New Zealand, rocked by another powerful aftershock - locals nerves frayed. Lastest figures in excess of 2000 now.

By Peter Petterson

First Published at Qondio:

Late this morning, New Zealand time, 11-35am or thereabouts, the South Island city of Christchurch, New Zealand's second biggest, was rocked by another aftershock of 5.0 on the Richter scale. There have now been 1900 aftershocks since the initial 7.1 earthquake rocked and ravaged the city of the plains and the surrounding area of North Canterbury, towns and rural townships.

The initial earthquake was of the same force as the one that hit Haiti some months ago, killing tens of thousands and injuring hundreds of thousands and ravaging the country. The most remarkable thing about the NZ quake was the lack of deaths caused through the actual quake and only a couple of serious injuries. A number of people have died of heart attacks which may be attributed to the earthquake.

Four hours before and after the quake and there could have been considerable loss of life downtown at bars, restaurants and cafes, and later as early shoppers hit town. Good fortune protected the New Zealand city.

During the last few weeks a lot of cleaning up around the city has been done, making slightly damaged houses liveable and safe. Inspections of schools were made, and hundreds of buildings inspected and graded according to condition - green for continued use and repair, and red for those that will have to be demolished for safety reasons.

Insurance assessors have also been busy assessing damaged houses in the city and environs. The Earthquake Commission pays up to $100,000 for each individual property with insurance companies picking up the costs above that figure.

But the 1900 aftershocks have in many cases damaged buildings and houses that were not damaged in the initial earthquake.

Some buildings that could not be repaired or strengthened have started to be demolished for public safety reasons, including one iconic building over 100 years old. 150,000 buildings and houses have been damaged to some degree, with about 200 having to be demolished, and twenty properties unfit for rebuilding.

A few hundred homes in the eastern suburbs have been without sewerage and have had limited water supplies since the EQ - chemical toilets have been placed outside every third house in some streets, and washing has had to be done down at the local mall and laundrette. Sewerage may not be replaced until 2011 in some streets.

There is no doubt tha many of the people of Christchurch and surrounding areas are becoming shell-shocked by the continuing aftershocks, which are in effect earthquakes in their own right. Comparisons are now being made with the effects of the London blitz in the early days of WW2.

I have never heard of so many aftershocks after an earthquake which may continue for months to come. A few people who were able to have left Christchurch with their families, but everybody else will not have such luxury. Life goe on for the suffering Christchurch and Canterbury people.

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