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More homes to be abandoned in New Zealand quake zone

(Xinhua)

13:43, August 18, 2011

WELLINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Almost 1,000 more homes are to be abandoned as uninhabitable and unfixable in New Zealand's quake- battered second city of Christchurch, bringing the total number of abandoned homes to about 6,000.

Another 940 homes damaged in last year's Sept. 4 quake and the devastating Feb. 22 earthquake, which left at least 181 people dead, had been included in the city's "red zone" of abandoned homes, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced Thursday.

They were among the 1,230 residential properties zoned orange for further investigation on June 23.

Meanwhile 220 had been zoned green, meaning repairs could go ahead, and a further 70 would remain in the orange zone for further investigation.

Brownlee said the land and critical infrastructure beneath the hardest hit parts of the newest red zones were so badly damaged that any repairs would have required the homes to be completely removed.

"This, like other areas we've zoned red, would have meant residents would have been forced off their land for a period of years," he said.

"There were also no guarantees that the remediation solutions available, regardless of cost, would have worked."

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