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Quake: Day three as it happened

Published: 4:22AM Monday September 06, 2010 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB/NZPA

Continuing live coverage of the aftermath of Saturday's massive earthquake in Canterbury throughout the day on

12:51am Another aftershock, much smaller this time. 3.9, 20 km south east of Darfield at a depth of 5km

12:41am There are reports coming in of further damage to structures in Christchurch after the 5.4 and 5.2 magnitude aftershocks struck within 16 minutes of each other. They are the biggest recorded since Saturday morning

12:21am Smaller aftershock compared to the last one but still significant. 4.7, 20 km southwest of Darfield, depth of 15km

11.40 pm Another major aftershock and now the biggest felt since quake first hit on Saturday morning. 5.4, 20 km southeast of Darfield, depth of 9km.

11.37pm: The Christchurch City Council's engineers have now surveyed all 550 buildings in the central business district. City Rescue Manager Steve McCarthy said 5% of those buildings have been red stickered meaning they are deemed unsafe and unable to be entered. A further 16% have been given a yellow sticker, which allows for building owners to enter the property to assess the extent of the damage. The remainder have been green stickered meaning they are safe and able to be used as normal.

"Some of the red stickered buildings are heritage buildings and we want to manage carefully what happens with these," he said.

Mr McCarthy said buildings that were most badly affected were generally those built in the 1860 to 1940 era. He said there were a number of six and seven storey buildings that have been red stickered.

11.38pm Another aftershock. 4.0, 20 km west of Christchurch, depth of 15km

11.24pm Biggest aftershock felt since quake first hit on Saturday morning. 5.2, 20 km southeast of Darfield, depth of 9km.

11:14pm Another aftershock. 3.7, 10km southwest of Christchurch, depth of 5km. Since 6pm tonight there have been 8 aftershocks, the largest was 4.4 at 6.01pm.

10.00pm Metro buses and ferry services will be operating on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 from the first service. The only exceptions are school services and routes 51 and 480. please refer to the Metro website for further information

9.30pm Work and Income is apologising to people who can't get through on the 0800 77 999 7 emergency number.  Mike Smith, spokesperson, says he knows this must be incredibly frustrating.

"I want to assure you that we are doing our very best to ensure that calls are answered quickly and that people are getting the information they need," he said.

I urge people who have still been unable to reach us on the 0800 number to keep trying.  We have taken over 4500 calls to date with most calls now being answered within 20 seconds."

9.00pm: Prisoners from Christchurch's Men's and Women's prisons will be moved to other sites as a precautionary measure. The Department of Corrections says the prisons are operating safely, but there is a safety risk that water pressure would not be effective enough in the event of a fire.

8.30pm: The cordon around quake-damaged central Christchurch has been reduced. The area from Gloucester to Armagh Streets was reopened from 1.30pm today.

79% percent of buildings were considered safe and 16 percent needed further structural assessment.

The 5% of buildings considered unsafe were isolated with barriers.

Armagh, St Asaph, Durham, Tennyson and Madras Streets remained closed.

8.10pm: Christchurch jury trials have again been postponed, despite the court complex being undamaged and outside the central city cordon.

Ministry of Justice media adviser Steve Corbett said tomorrow's jury trials would be postponed as many jurors were likely to be unavailable.

The ministry would make decisions on proceedings "day by day" so potential jurors should check the jury phone line regularly, he said.

All disputes and tenancy tribunal cases were also postponed.

7.30pm: The government is urging Canterbury residents with elderly neighbours to continuously check on them, as the aftershocks continue.

Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett says there's still a lot of danger as the city keeps rumbling, and concern is held for the elders.

7.19pm: All classes at the University of Otago's Christchurch campus have been cancelled this week.

The main building was today cleared of any structural damage but there were still "significant internal cleaning needs", university dean Peter Joyce said. The St Elmo's Court building remained off limits as a "status yellow".

Professor Joyce said all facilities would be closed tomorrow, but most staff could return to their offices on Wednesday.

Classes were expected to resume next week.

5.54pm: The cordon marking no-go areas in the Christchurch CBD has been reduced again. The area from Gloucester to Armagh Streets has been reopened.

All buildings in this area have been inspected.

Civil Defence says building owners and the public now have full access except to unsafe buildings which have been isolated by barriers and tagged with yellow and red paint.

5.43pm: Questions have been asked about what support there will be for those in Christchurch without insurance cover.

Prime Minister John Key says they have to treat this carefully as the Government does want to send the message people need to have insurance.

He says true hardship would have to be proved and each claim would likely be treated on a case by case basis.

5.10pm : People volunteering to help after the earthquake are being directed to the Christchurch City Council call centre.

The number is 03 9418999. The council's asking to phone rather than turning up in person.

5.03pm: Cantabrians have felt another aftershock. There was a tremor of magnitude 3 at about 4:30pm.

It was quite shallow at just eight kilometres deep.The aftershock was five kilometres from Darfield and 40 kilometres from west of Christchurch.

4.51pm: The government is making an initial donation of $5 million to the Mayoral fund set up for the quake recovery. That is on top of the $6 million already in the fund and is part of a government response just released by Prime Minister John Key. Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee has been made the minister responsible for earthquake recovery and a special cabinet committee will be formed.

Key says no decision has yet been made on whether a special commissioner will be appointed to run the response. At this stage the PM will still leave on Friday for a planned trip to France and Britain, but if the situation worsens, that decision may be revised.

4.40pm: Pockets of the suburb of Bexley are being evacuated this afternoon after houses have been deemed unsafe. Police say it is too early to say how many people will be affected, but people are having to leave their homes.

4.38pm: Christchurch mayor Bob Parker has told a press conference in the city that there is no room for complacency and said some of the latest aftershocks had been "crackers".

4.33pm: Prime Minister John Key has just said the Earthquake Commission has had about 15,000 claims so far. He said it faces an "enormous workload".

"I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the response to this disaster, there has been a real community spirit," he told a press conference at the Beehive.

4.17pm: A new cluster of five aftershocks has hit over the past two hours, including one measuring 4.4 at 3.07pm.

4.00pm : The police cordon around the Christchurch CBD has moved. The no-go area is now bounded by Cambridge, Gloucester, Madras and St Asaph Streets.

Anyone wanting to enter the area has to to through checkpoints at the corners of Glouchester and Colombo and St Asaph and Colombo. A cordon also remains in place on Cranford and Westminster Street area.

3.44pm: Orion says it's aiming to have less than a thousand customers in Christchurch and rural Canterbury without power by tonight. 3500 homes were without power at midday. Over 400 Orion staff and local contractors are working on the network at the moment.

3.25pm: Housing New Zealand has checked 650 of its properties in the area with problems ranging from plumbing issues to collapsed chimneys. A spokesman says several hundred need re-roofing, 20 need urgent action and they're seriously concerned about six properties. He says there are around 50 vacant homes which will be used to re-house those without somewhere to stay.
Port-a-loos are also being brought in to areas which still don't have running water.

3.02pm: Newstalk ZB's Christchurch headquarters has been evacuated. The 12-storey building on Worcester Street near Cathedral Square has had its restricted notice upgraded to a no-go zone by engineers.

3.00pm: Demolition work has begun in the St Albans area of Christchurch. A digger has pulled down a building which was shops at floor level and flats above. Residents of the building were ignoring advice and were going into the unstable property, Radio NZ reported.

2.48pm: AMI Insurance says it has had more than 4000 claims lodged already. Assessors have been flown in from all around the country and are now on the ground. 

2.00pm: New streets have been cordoned off in Christchurch. Police have cordoned off Westminster and Cranford Streets in Christchurch and are asking the public not to enter this area due to danger from falling debris. They say cordons may vary depending on the weather conditions and possible aftershocks. As civil engineers and Urban Search and Rescue teams move through the city further buildings may be deemed to be at risk. Police ask the public take due caution around these buildings.

Inspector John Price said safety is paramount: "Unfortunately it appear as though a small number of people are interfering with taped off areas and removing safety cones. They are there to ensure people know what areas still pose a danger. Removal prevents the protection and safety of everyone."

Rumours about a collapsed roof at Westfield Riccarton, which appeared on Twitter and were repeated in some media, are incorrect, the company says. Westfield says the centre opened today after safety checks, though some stores remain closed to clean up damage.

1.07pm: Orana Wildlife Park lost Gidro, a 10-year-old lemur, as a result of the earthquake. The animal drowned.

There are also concerns about a kiwi egg that is due to hatch soon. "We lost power for almost four hours and that poor little egg was rocked about inside its incubator. Today we saw movement in the egg so we are hopeful that the chick will hatch - but it will be a miracle if the chick is alright" says Tara Atkinson, Head Keeper of Native Fauna.

The wildlife park was closed over the weekend but has re-opened today and is operating as normal. There is no structural damage.

12.45pm: Another aftershock has knocked out the lights at Christchurch Airport.

Quakes today: 12.35pm - 4.5 on the Richter scale; 12.18pm - 3.5; 9.46am - 3.5; 9.31am - 3.6; 7.18am - 3.8; 5.42am - 3.6; 5.18am - 4.2; 5.07am - 3.6; 4.10am - 4.0; 4.06am - 4.8; 12.52am - 3.5; 12.52am - 3.9; 12.18am - 4.7; 12.16am - 4.3.

12.41pm: The ANZ says it sees the short-term impact of the Canterbury earthquake as negative, but the precise effect is impossible to predict. Building work will be boosted in 2011 and 2012 but the bank expects a downturn in tourism will balance out any gains.It said: "Of immediate concern is the impact on confidence, which requires decisive leadership and pragmatism by policymakers to support."

12.36pm: All Countdown, SuperValue and FreshChoice supermarkets in the Canterbury region are open but distribution centres were significantly damaged. Grocery supplies are being shipped from Auckland or direct from local suppliers to ensure essential items are available.

Progressive, which owns the supermarkets, is donating $100,000 to the earthquake fund and customers are able to contribute donations at any Countdown, Woolworths, Foodtown, SuperValue or FreshChoice store throughout the country.

12.26pm: Telecom says 1,000 callers have taken advantage of free calls on payphones in and around Christchurch. It is asking people to use the payphones responsibly by keeping calls brief and making important calls only.

 The companu said 111 services are fully-operational and fixed lines are performing well as are both Telecom mobile networks. All four Civil Defence social assistance sites have telecommunications service. Enough back-up generators and diesel have been secured to maintain core services.

12.21pm: The Council of Trade Unions has been in talks with business leaders and the government about the impact on workers.

 CTU president Helen Kelly said: At this stage I am pleased to note that a number of employers are reassuring workers about being paid if it is not practicable to work, and are taking care around issues such as health and safety, alternative work and also allowing staff to be with their families at this time.

12.18pm: Health Minister Tony Ryall has thanked the hundreds of Canterbury health workers who spent the weekend treating and caring for the earthquake struck people of the region and are continuing to work this week.

Ryall said: "I know that many staff had their own homes damaged by Saturday morning's earthquake - some quite badly - but they put patients' needs - and the needs of Canterbury people - ahead of their own and went in to work like the professionals they are."

He also acknowledged and thanked radiographers and lab staff who cancelled their scheduled strike action at Christchurch hospital to lend a hand.

Midday:  Orion says it still has 4000 customers in Christchurch and rural Canterbury without power. CEO Roger Sutton says they hope to have power connected to at least half of the homes by nightfall.

11.15am: MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers in the 12 hours from 9am to 9pm today.

Forecasters are warning people in the area to expect a further 60mm of rain on the divide on top of what has already fallen, and over 30mm within 15km east of the divide.

The strong wind warning has been cancelled, although further gusts to 100kmh are possible in exposed inland places until mid afternoon.

10.57am: The Unite union in Christchurch says its office has been flooded with phone calls and text messages from worried workers. "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. We are very worried that some employers will seek to withhold payment for work that employees were rostered to do over the weekend," said Unite's Christchurch 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." said Mr. Jones.

10.16am: There will be limited court sittings in Christchurch today. The court house has been deemed safe by structural engineers but jury trials have been postponed because of the unlikely availability of jurors. Jurors summoned for jury duty are advised to call later today on the Christchurch jury service phone number 03-962-4399 for further instructions.

10.10am: Water and toilet issues are causing strain for people in some parts of Christchurch. Bowie Place is home to over 60 city council flats, and none of the residents have power, water or phones. Residents are resorting to desperate measures to get rid of their waste including collecting water from a local river to flush their toilets.

10.01am: Canterbury is being warned by another city hit by a major earthquake that it is facing a long road ahead. Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon says his city is still fixing up buildings, three years after its 6.8 magnitude quake in December 2007.

9.59am: Despite the fact that sewage has been flowing into the Kaiapoi River, there are reports keen whitebaiters have been out with their nets trying to secure catches of the delicacy.

9.48am: Police are warning anyone wanting to get access into the centre of Christchurch City that they can only use two checkpoints and will not be allowed in at any others. They are: the corner of St Asaph and Colombo Streets, and the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets.

9.25am: A health advisory has been issued reminding people that people should boil water even to brush their teeth, as fears of gastroenteritis grow.

9.20am: Eighty soldiers now in the Christchurch CBD, assisting the fire and police services.

8.59am: Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says ways will be found to help people without insurance. Over the weekend, John Key had warned that some uninsured Cantabrians will be left out of pocket. But Parker said today: "It's a difficult situation, but we are working on a human level. We can't make value judgments. We have to find ways to help people. Of course there are complexities when people don't have insurance, but people have to have a roof over their head and we have a responsibility to do that."

8.35am: Radiographers will join a nationwide strike tomorrow, but Christchurch radiographers have  pulled out and will work as normal. Hospitals across Canterbury have been operating smoothly, but non-urgent surgery has been deferred yet again at Christchurch Hospital today. Canterbury District Health Board spokeswoman Mary Gordon says most general practices and pharmacies are open.

8.00am, The main points so far today:
- The state of emergency has been extended to midday Wednesday. The overnight curfew lifted at 7am.
- The storm overnight has not been as bad as feared but power has been knocked out to thousands of homes and there is a danger of flooding from rising rivers.
- Cabinet meets at 11am to discuss emergency relief for Canterbury.
- There have been dozens of aftershocks overnight, with the largest measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale
- The army is now helping police on road cordons

7.54am: The number of homes in the region without power has doubled overnight to 6,000 as a result of bad weather which brought down powerlines, Orion, the local power company, says.

7.51am: Police report that a couple of "well-known criminals" have tried to get into the cordoned off area of the CBD by posing as council workers. Superintendent Dave Cliff told Radio NZ that he expected the local courts would be strong in their response.

7.46am: Prime Minister John Key signalled on TV ONE's Breakfast programme that the government would be bearing much of the cost of infrastructure that was previously paid for by Canterbury rate-payers. He said the government would need to "step-up" and pay for much of the re-building.

7.43am: The aftershocks are continuing to come regularly. The latest came at 7.18am and measured 3.8 on the richter scale. It was centered 20 km south-west of Christchurch.

7.25am: Water is on everywhere except for 60 streets in the city. There have been 360 breaks in pipes, 100 have been fixed. Water must be boiled even if it seems clean.

7.00am: The overnight curfew has been lifted. Schools and early childhood centres in Christchurch, Waimakariri, and Selwyn districts closed until Wednesday. Also Rangiora schools. More details on the Ministry of Education website.

6.53am: The state of emergency declared for Christchurch has been extended until midday on Wednesday.

6.44am recap:
- Schools and public buildings closed until Wednesday
- Stay home if you work inside the CBD cordon
- Call employer if unsure whether you can go to work
- No buses running
- Continue boiling water for 3 minutes
- Treat all powerlines as live
- Schools and pre-schools closed
- Universities, CPIT closed
- No bus services
- SH74 partly closed, most roads open
- Trains are operating
- Hospital surgery cancelled
- Libraries are closed
- Rubbish collections as usual
- Three welfare centres still running - at Burnside High, Linwood College and Addington Raceway
- Don't light open fires

6.33am: Cordon in CBD to be lifted at 7am. People should call their employer if they unsure whether they are working. No buses will be running in the city.  

6.25am: Aftershocks continue - there have been 79 since the major quake.

Quake helpline 0800 77 999 7

6.00am: Cabinet will discuss today what aid it will give to Canterbury residents facing a huge rebuilding effort and ongoing disruption as schools, and many public buildings and businesses remain closed following Saturday's massive earthquake.

Hundreds of people spent their second night away from home in aid shelters in Christchurch after their houses were destroyed.

The state of emergency in the city will be reassessed today, but Mayor Bob Parker believed it may need to be continued.

5.00am: TVNZ weatherman Tamati Coffey says it is about 18C in Christchurch right now but a southerly change is coming. That will bring cold temperatures and snow down to around 600m in Canterbury and 300m in Otago.

Coffey says the stormy weather largely skipped the Canterbury region but winds of 175kmh were recorded in Dunedin and 100 kmh in Wellington. 

No aftershocks recorded between 1am and 4am but then two occurred - a 4.8 and a 4.0 magnitude - at 4.06am and 4.10am. Both measured at a depth of 10 kms.

4.30am: Engineers say when the rubble is cleared they think the city will have stood up well. A platoon of engineers is descending on affected buildings, ticking off those safe to enter and marking others down for further action.

The director of engineering at the Institute of Engineers, Charles Willmot, says the collapse of older buildings is likely to change the face of Christchurch forever but it is pleasing that most modern buildings have stood up well.

3.45am: The working week will be severely disrupted for Canterbury residents as workplaces and schools grapple with assessing the extent of the quake damage.
Schools and universities are closed, bus services are cancelled and employers must ensure their buildings as safe before allowing their employees to enter them.

2.10am: Emergency services say Christchurch has so far escaped serious storm damage as the hurricane-force winds earlier predicted have not arrived.
Trees and power lines have been blown over, and minor slips have come down in North Canterbury and around Oamaru and Dunedin, but so far there is no major damage from an expected storm.

1.00am: Primary Care says GPs are up and running in Canterbury and people should consult their normal doctors.
Most pharmacies in Canterbury will be operating as usual from Monday apart from those in the CBD. All mall pharmacies are open, as are all rural pharmacies.

Patients who cannot access their pharmacy in the CBD should use Urgent Pharmacy in Bealey Avenue to collect new and repeat prescriptions. The scripts should be requested through their usual GP.

Patients unable to contact their regular pharmacy by phone for repeats can get a seven day emergency supply of medicine from the Urgent Pharmacy in Bealey Avenue. This is for urgent medical supplies only.

Pharmacies in the cordoned-off area of Kaiapoi will be operational for urgent medical supplies.

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  • gordy said on 2010-09-09 @ 13:59 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Im my 51 years on this earth I have never felt so first thoughts was we had been hit by a nuclear bomb and it was Armageddon. Never ever want to experience it again

  • schicken said on 2010-09-08 @ 19:15 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I thought the same thing initially. However, another quake big enough to close or shift the cracks further is likely to be heard first and all the kids will most likely be fine. If a child does get swallowed up, I'm probably not going to have huge empathy for the media coverage or their parents, but until then, let the region have a little bit of fun. Education about health risks regarding contaminated water may be a good idea for all. :)

  • thinkaboutit said on 2010-09-06 @ 23:06 NZDT: Report abusive post

    More great coverage tonight TVNZ especially highlighting the situation at individual community levels where people reported they felt abandoned. All credit to those organising themselves into community working groups at this level despite this. Arguably the recovery process would be greatly enhanced if these community groups were psychologically and practically supported by establishing official coordination centres at individual community levels.

  • Madeleine Ware said on 2010-09-06 @ 17:31 NZDT: Report abusive post

    You're making some good points here. Perhaps some of the donations could be towards purchasing and setting up storage of these sorts of things. Individuals are also responsible for making their own preparations. I clean and keep old 3L juice bottles filled with water. Every now and then I water my house plants with one and refill it to refresh it.

  • Madeleine Ware said on 2010-09-06 @ 17:25 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Why are they buying water? Aren't there several tankers about the city giving it away?