Aftershock hits New Zealand's Christhurch

15:29, December 26, 2010      

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Part of the central area of the New Zealand South Island city of Christchurch was cordoned off on Sunday, and retailers were forced to close their doors to Boxing Day shoppers, after a strong aftershock earlier in the day caused minor damage.

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake struck at 10.30 a.m. local time ( 2130 GMT Saturday) amid a swarm of smaller quakes, and was one of the most damaging since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Sept. 4.

Sunday's 4.9 magnitude earthquake was shallow, just 12 km deep, and within 5 km of Christchurch, New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said on Sunday.

There were no reports of injuries, despite the earthquake happening midmorning on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Water, wastewater and stormwater networks were undamaged, and power had been restored to about 40,000 properties by midday although some traffic lights were not working properly, police said.

Road closures in Oxford Tce and Colombo St were later removed, but City Mall remained closed.

A Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center was set up at Christchurch City Council's Hereford St building and emergency services were assessing the situation. No major damage had been reported in the suburbs.

Police in Christchurch said a series of tremors felt in the city on Boxing Day had a big impact because of their shallow depth and closeness to the CBD.

Twenty buildings are known to have been damaged. Structural assessments are being undertaken by 10 Civil Defense teams.

The City Council said most of the damage has occurred in buildings already affected by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Sept. 4.

Source: Xinhua
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