Christchurch Hit by Aftershocks

An emergency centre has been set up in the New Zealand city of Christchurch after a series of violent aftershocks rattled the city on Sunday, cutting electricity supplies, damaging buildings and forcing evacuations.

The biggest aftershock was 4.9-magnitude and came nearly four months after the area’s destructive 7.0-magnitude earthquake in September.

Police Inspector Derek Erasmus says the largest aftershock had a big impact because of its shallow depth.

“We’ve had older buildings with cracks in them, broken windows, bricks coming off buildings,” he said.

“Most of those are buildings that have been damaged [earlier], we have had some new damage, some walls collapsed on some buildings, so we are assessing that at the moment to see how bad it is.”

There were no reported injuries, but at least 20 buildings have been damaged and the CBD has been cordoned off.

Christchurch resident Roger Cleave says the aftershocks were very scary.

“I saw boom, boom, boom. Buildings were exploding. I thought it was glass, but it was rock,” he said.

“It really scared the living daylights out of me.”

Acting city mayor Ngaire Button says the Boxing Day aftershocks come at a bad time for residents and businesses.

“We’ve all been resourcing and working together to help local businesses with their recovery and it’s really sad that we’ve had to close City Mall today,” she said.

“A lot of the buildings in the mall have been damaged and the fire service asked us to close it in order that they might do safety and building assessments.”

About 40,000 houses had their electricity supplies cut for about an hour following the main shake.

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