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New Zealand PM renews pledge to rebuild Christchurch after day of tremors

06-13-2011 14:56 BJT

WELLINGTON, June 13 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Monday renewed his pledge that the country's second city of Christchurch would be rebuilt after a series of major tremors rocked the city, injuring at least 10 people.

The government-run GeoNet recorded 11 tremors between 12:29 p.m. and 4:56 p.m., with the most violent being a magnitude 6 tremor at a depth of 9 km, centered about 10 km southeast of the city, at 2: 20 p.m..

The second worst was a magnitude 5.5 quake 11 km deep at 1 p.m., about 10 km east of the city.

The quakes came after the Feb. 22 quake, which killed 181 people and another in September last year that caused severe damage.

"It's another blow to the Christchurch residents who have already endured so much," Key said at a press conference.

"However today's events in no way weaken the government's long term commitment to rebuild Christchurch and surrounding areas."

Key said he had spoken to Mayor Bob Parker, who was considering whether to call a local emergency. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee would be flying from Wellington to Christchurch as soon as was possible, the National Business Review reported.

Key said the situation was "not considered serious enough" for a national state of emergency to be imposed.

The quakes were a "setback" that caused further damage to the central business district and the eastern suburbs, cutting electricity and water supplies and damaging sewer systems.

"It does not lessen our resolve to rebuild. People of Christchurch should know that all New Zealanders are thinking of them and will continue to support and standby them at this very difficult time," Key said.

"For the people of Christchurch I am sure they just want this to end," he said.

"I am sure they are over all of this and they want a sense of normality to return and I think we can all feel their frustration. But they've got to know that we stand beside them, that we are totally committed to rebuilding the city and I am sure these aftershocks will eventually settle down and normality will return. It's a very frustrating time for the people of Christchurch."

Schooling would again be disrupted and households have to pick up the pieces and dig liquefaction from their homes and yards, he said, according the report.

"That saps away the confidence of the people of Christchurch."

Key said the quakes were likely to be treated as new events for insurance purposes and he had been assured that the state-run Earthquake Commission, which pays compensation for earthquake damage, had already obtained sufficient reinsurance. The government had also provisioned enough in the budget, he said.

Key said that on the Mercalli scale, which measures the intensity of earthquakes, the 6 magnitude quake recorded eight out of 12 while the Feb. 22 quake was nine out of 12.

"It's a very violent shock."

The tremors Monday disrupted an inquest into the deaths of 116 people killed in the CTV building during the Feb. 22 earthquake.

The coroner's inquest had just broken for lunch when a 5.5- magnitude shock truck at 1 p.m., and family members and media were evacuated from the venue.

The inquest had been hearing how 12 people inside The Clinic medical practice in the CTV building died.

At least 10 people were reported injured Monday, but no fatalities were reported.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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