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Aftershocks felt since quake hit NZ
Christchurch, Sept 6 (Agencies):
Published on 7 Sep. 2010 12:45 AM IST
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The biggest aftershocks since Saturday’s earthquake have hit the Canterbury region tonight, the 5.4 and 5.2 magnitude tremors striking at 11:24pm and 11:40pm respectively. Others followed within minutes.
Aftershocks are continuing to rock Christchurch, the numbers well past 100 since the big one on Saturday, making for a nervous time as tremors threaten to topple already damaged buildings. Experts warn there could be many more to come.
Already, 100,000 homes have been damaged but power was able to be restored to many homes today, with only about 1000 still without it tonight
Over 400 Orion Power staff and local contractors worked on the network. Orion Energy hoped it would be restored to all of Canterbury by the end of the week. However they are warning residents not to demolish their homes, without first disconnecting power. Chief executive Roger Sutton said demolition crews were putting themselves and the rest of the power system at risk if they did so.
Meanwhile, the state of emergency in Christchurch has been extended as the city deals with the consequences of the earthquake.
It is due to stay in place until midday Wednesday.
After three days of intense work emergency services were starting to feel the stress of holding the city together and the arrival of the army this morning brought much needed supplies and assistance. The army has been helping with evacuations and providing alternative accommodation and is on standby for further assistance.
Civil Defence staff also repaired more than 100 leaking water pipes today and said less than five percent of properties were without water. Tens of thousands of workers were today locked out of the inner city in Christchurch, when it would usually be bustling with commuters and people rushing to and from work.
Throughout the CBD the footpaths remain eerily empty, with business owners the only ones allowed back in to assess the damage.
Many businesses cannot open until the damage from the earthquake is fully assessed and buildings deemed safe but the cordon marking no-go areas in the CBD has this evening been reduced and will be further reduced from 8am tomorrow, with Cathedral Square and Colombo Street reopening.
The area from Gloucester to Armagh Streets has been reopened with all buildings in the area inspected. Civil Defence said 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.
City council rescue manager John Buchan said there would be full access for building owners and the public, except where damaged and unsafe buildings have been taped off.
“We do however urge that people exercise caution as aftershocks continue,” he said. The area to remain cordoned off is bounded by Hereford Street, St Asaph St, side streets off the east of Colombo St, and Madras Street.
Aftershocks combined with high winds continued to cause more problems and heartache for business owners today.
Some sat on the roadside in tears as their stores in the Christchurch suburb of St Albans were torn down.
The row of about half a dozen shops, as well as second floor apartments, on the intersection of Cranford and Westminster Streets, were condemned yesterday after the initial quake wrecked roofs and walls.

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