Curfew imposed in quake-hit Christchurch

16:33, September 04, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

An overnight curfew has been imposed in New Zealand South Island's central Christchurch and Kaiapoi following the major earthquake that rocked the region early Saturday.

The 7.1-magnitude quake occurred at 4.35 a.m. local time on Saturday, 40 km west of Christchurch, at a depth of approximately 10 km. There have been 22 aftershocks, the strongest at 5.3- magnitude, New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science reported.

The curfew was imposed from 7 p.m. on Saturday until 7 a.m. on Sunday local time.

Police were maintaining a cordon between Kilmore, Madras, Montreal and St Asaph streets. Building facades have collapsed, cars have been crushed and many homes have been damaged.

Police were urging people to stay at home and say anyone breaching the curfew can be arrested.

Civil Defence said that up to half a dozen homes have been left uninhabitable in the Selwyn district, and the township of Kaiapoi, also badly damaged in the quake, is also under curfew.

A state of emergency declared in the Selwyn district and Christchurch will remain in force in the city until at least midday on Monday.

Eighty police reinforcements from Auckland were expected to arrive in Christchurch on Saturday night to assist with recovery efforts, and Prime Minister John Key said the Army is likely to help with the clean-up too.

Key said the earthquake is New Zealand's worst natural disaster since the Inangahua earthquake in 1968.

Key arrived in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon to assess the extensive damage in the region following the 7.1-magnitude quake.

Key said it will take some time before the full cost of the quake is known but it may run into billions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Civil Defence Minister John Carter has advised people to keep calm, not to panic, and to be sensible.

The power lines company Orion says electricity has been restored to almost 90 percent of Christchurch but is proving harder to restore in rural areas.

The gas supplier to Christchurch, Contact Energy, says supply has not been affected by the earthquake, and gas is safe to use.

But in some areas, water supply have not restored.

Flights were resumed in Christchurch Airport on Saturday afternoon.


Two people have been seriously hurt. One man, in his 50s, is in a serious condition in Christchurch Hospital after being hit by a falling chimney, while another man was cut by glass.

The hospital says it is coping well with an influx of people. It has treated several people with broken bones and others with minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

The Fire Service said search and rescue dogs have been used to search collapsed buildings, following reports that some people were trapped, but it says no one has been found so far.

Civil Defence headquarters has activated the national crisis center. No tsunami alert has been issued.



  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Players of Iran throw up their coach Velasco Julio during the awarding ceremony at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, capital of Iran, Sept. 29, 2011. Iran won the champion after beating China 3-1 in the final on Thursday. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
  • Greek artists burn copies of emergency tax notices during a protest against austerity measures in Athens, Greece, on Sept. 29, 2011. The Greek government is facing a new wave of protests as it introduces new austerity measures to obtain the sixth tranche of aids necessary to overcome the acute debt crisis.(Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
  • A winner of the 36th Miss Bikini International 2011 poses for a photo at the Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao, a coastal city of east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Chen Jianli)
  • Staff members are in position at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2011. Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced Thursday night that the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module was successful. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
  • Champion of Miss Bikini from Poland receives trophy at the final of the 36th Miss Bikini International World Competition in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 28, 2011. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 28, 2011 shows autumn scenery of populus euphratica forests in Ejina Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia. The populus euphratica forests here, with an area of 390,000 mu, or 26,000 hectares, is one of the world's most famous populus euphratica forests. The golden leaves and sunshines here in autumn is able to attract more than 100,000 person-times annually. (Xinhua/Zhao Tingting)
Hot Forum Discussion