CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has canceled his trip to Europe to stay at home and deal with the aftermath of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
Key was due to leave for Britain on Friday night for a week long trip that would have included meetings with the British prime minister and French president.
However, he has now decided that he should remain in New Zealand.
Key said on Tuesday that a number of aftershocks - including two 5.4 jolts - overnight had changed his mind about going to Europe and he wanted to show solidarity with Christchurch people.
More aftershocks have occurred in New Zealand central South Island's Canterbury region after a swarm of strong quakes overnight.
A magnitude 5.4 quake was recorded at 3.24 a.m. on Tuesday. It was 20 km south of Darfield, at a depth of 15 km, the GNS Science reported.
Another magnitude 5.4 was recorded at 11.40 p.m. on Monday, 20 km south-west of Darfield, at a depth of 9 km.
A welfare center was abandoned, rail services canceled, and Christchurch airport domestic flights were affected by Monday night's tremors.
Civil Defense advises residents to prepare for even bigger aftershocks.
Christchurch is still under a state of emergency after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake at 4.35 a.m. on Saturday.
A 7 p.m. - 7 a.m. curfew is also in effect. The Army is on duty on the streets of the central city.
About 250 people are staying in welfare centers and health authorities reported Monday night that two families at one center, in the suburb of Linwood, had contracted gastroenteritis.
Overnight, 3,500 homes were still without power, and Key said an estimated 100,000 of the 160,000 homes in the Selwyn, Christchurch and Waimakariri areas were damaged. Already, 431 homes have been identified as likely to be demolished but that number is expected to grow.
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