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Powerful quakes hit New Zealand again

06-14-2011 15:10 BJT

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A series of powerful tremors have rattled the quake-prone New Zealand city of Christchurch, destroying buildings and sending boulders tumbling down hillsides nearly four months after a quake killed 181 people.

Strong aftershocks rattled New Zealand's quake-devastated city of Christchurch again Monday. The first 5.2-magnitude aftershock struck the city at lunchtime, followed by another 6.0-magnitude quake struck sending residents into a panic at 2:20pm local time.

The US Geological Survey measured the largest tremor at magnitude 6.0, with a depth of 9 kilometers and the epicenter some 14 kilometers from the heart of the city.

The worst-hit area was the damaged central city known as the red zone, which remains off-limits to the public following February's tremor and another 7-magnitude quake last September.

A Christchurch resident said, "I was just sitting at my desk and it started to shake like usual and thought of jumping under my desk and then...It just happens so quickly doesn't it? And then it's all over."

Despite the violence of the shakes, New Zealand's earthquake monitoring service GNS Science says they were "within forecasted range".The government agency has warned that they will likely trigger a new cycle of heavy quakes in the magnitude 4.0 to 5.0 range in the coming days and weeks.

Power company Orion says electricity has been cut to 54,000 homes and council staff say they have lost water pressure across the city with temperatures expected to approach freezing.

The 6.0 magnitude quake came just as schools were about to end for the day and was one of more than 20 aftershocks to hit the city, all schools were later closed until further notice.

John Key, New Zealand PM, said, "For the people of Christchurch, I am sure they just want this to end. Quite frankly, 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 the frustration. But, they have got to know that we stand beside them, that we are totally committed to rebuilding the city."

Residents in Christchurch are still recovering from a deadly 6.3 earthquake in February that killed 181 people. A National Crisis Management Center controller official says there were no reported fatalities from the latest tremors but at least 10 people were injured, but none seriously.



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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