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Wellington quiet as earthquakes continue


13:18, July 22, 2013

WELLINGTON, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The center of Wellington was quiet Monday as the series of quakes that included at least two severe tremors on Sunday continued and workers were advised to stay away from the central business district.

Many government departments and educational institutions closed for the day following advice from the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office, while engineers and emergency services inspected buildings for signs of quake damage.

"We need to give engineers and building experts time to check the condition of a large number of buildings in the city," Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said in a statement.

"For now it's about being aware, taking stock of your own situation and having a plan worked out if you need to swing into action," she advised residents.

Wade-Brown told Radio New Zealand Monday that engineers were making visual inspections and have identified superficial rather than structural damage.

Emergency management staff were going through the central city, street by street, to assess the safety of buildings after the magnitude 6.5-magnitude quake on Sunday.

The government's GeoNet monitoring service said the quakes were centered about 30 km east of Seddon, at the top of the South Island, with the two most significant on Sunday being a 5.8 magnitude quake about 19 km deep at 7:17 a.m. and a 6.5-magnitude quake about 17 km deep at 5:09 p.m., followed by magnitude-5.2 minutes later.

Hundreds of aftershocks, some of them strong, have continued to shake Wellington.

Train services in the capital were suspended Monday until all roads, bridges and tracks had been checked by engineers.

Radio New Zealand reported that four people had been treated at Wellington Hospital for minor injuries after the quakes

The government's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences ( GNS Science) said late Sunday that there was a 30-percent chance of a magnitude 6 or greater aftershock and there were likely to be nine quakes of up to magnitude 5 in the next week, and a 20- percent chance of a magnitude-6 or greater quake within 24 hours of the previous severe quake.

However GNS Science seismologist Caroline Holden told Radio New Zealand Monday that there were no big aftershocks overnight, so the prediction had been revised down to a 10-percent chance of a magnitude-6 or greater quake happening over the next 24 hours.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiangJun、Yao Chun)

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