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Every second building in Lyttelton severely damaged

Published: 8:48AM Wednesday February 23, 2011 Source: AAP / ONE News

Lyttelton, the pretty port village that proudly proclaims itself as the gateway to Christchurch, has been devastated by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand's second largest city just before 1pm on Tuesday.

Every second building on the town's main street has been severely damaged, with cordons closing off one block considered uninhabitable.

Several of the port town's picturesque buildings have collapsed in a pile of rubble, with its oldest churches among the casualties.

Building facades had fallen away, exposing the intimate insides of family homes, and in the hills above the main road, there are bare spots where houses once stood.

The on-the-ground assessment is the first one since a windy road into the seafarers' settlement was re-opened early on Wednesday morning. Main access through a road tunnel under the Port Hills was cut off after the quake and remains closed.

St John area commander Pete Dawson, a local, told AAP how devastating it was to see his town destroyed.

"Just look at it," he said, waving his arm down London Street. "It's a mess, totally destroyed.

"It's very difficult. We've lost so many of our best buildings and homes," said Dawson, himself now homeless.

The town had also lost two men, one elderly and another young. Dawson said they were walking on a mountain track when they were hit by falling rocks.

A few Australian tourists had been in to seek assistance, but they seemed "like happy chappies" and went on their way.

He said the town enjoyed great patronage from across the Tasman and he hoped that could continue.

"We'll rebuild. Of course, we will. We're resilient people, we're Cantabrians, you know. And we've got a World Cup to look forward to," he said with a laugh.

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  • ThousandDemons said on 2011-03-07 @ 18:26 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I'll be paying my respects from overseas, here in Japan, to my fallen country people. R.I.P. Kia Kaha, Christchurch Regarding the city, I hope they get it up and running soon. Infrastructure, services, everything that the people need to live day-to-day. Then think about knocking down buildings.

  • velana55 said on 2011-03-07 @ 18:25 NZDT: Report abusive post

    it's gr8 Mr Key has organised a holiday to remember Cantabrians but what about the rest of the country..we would like to be included in this memorial day..the rest of us feel badly as well and would have been nice to have the day to reflect on this horrible event and more ways we can help the recovery

  • velana55 said on 2011-03-07 @ 18:25 NZDT: Report abusive post

    it's gr8 Mr Key has organised a holiday to remember Cantabrians but what about the rest of the country..we would like to be included in this memorial day..the rest of us feel badly as well and would have been nice to have the day to reflect on this horrible event and more ways we can help the recovery

  • mattyjack1 said on 2011-03-07 @ 18:11 NZDT: Report abusive post

    It is wonderful that they will have a memorial service for the victims, and that the victims can be remembered properly. It would have been nice though to hold other mass memorial services in the other main centers so we could honour the victims as well.

  • kiwi1976 said on 2011-03-07 @ 06:37 NZDT: Report abusive post

    whats the hurry to rebuild christchurch? this earthquake was an after shock, get all the basic utilitys up and running first then worrie about the rebuild. another big after shock could do the same damage. The nz government can't manage their own books what makes them think they can run this any better?

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