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City infrastructure undamaged

City infrastructure undamaged

City water, wastewater and stormwater networks were not damaged by the series of earthquakes in Christchurch on Boxing Day.

Power has been restored across the city and the traffic light network is operating with some intermittent faults. Motorists are ask to drive carefully.

Road closures in Oxford Terrace and Colombo Street have been removed, however a cordon remains in place in Lichfield Street, Hereford Street, City Mall and Gloucester Street between Manchester and Latimer Square. This cordon is in place to protect public safety while emergency services carry out assessments of buildings damaged during this morning's earthquake. There has not been an evacuation, however no one is being allowed to re-enter the cordoned area while the assessments are underway.

Twenty buildings are known to have been damaged during this morning's earthquake and structural assessments are being undertaken by 10 Civil Defence teams. Most of the damage has occurred in buildings already affected by the 4 September earthquake. Emergency services will also check other buildings in the area for damage. The assessments are being undertaken systematically throughout the central city and building owners inside the cordoned area. Once Civil Defence staff have completed the assessments, individual building owners will work through the remediation process with their insurers. Building owners who return after the holidays and discover damage should consult their own engineers and insurers

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A Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre has been set up at the Christchurch City Council's Hereford Street building and emergency services are assessing the situation across the city. Damage has largely been limited to the Central City, with no major damage reported in Christchurch's suburbs. Civil Defence staff have received no reports of injuries as a result of the quakes.

Earthquake background from Environment Canterbury:

* The earthquakes being felt in Christchurch today are still part of the normal aftershock sequence from September's magnitude 7.1 earthquake.
* The last three to four weeks have been relatively quiet, and these are the largest aftershocks since mid-November.
* It is not unusual to get significant aftershocks several months after a large earthquake, and it is not unusual to have them in "swarms" or groups as we are having today.
* These aftershocks are much closer to Christchurch than many of the other aftershocks we have had, so they are felt more strongly.
* The earthquakes are not related to the magnitude 7.6 earthquake that occurred in Vanuatu earlier this morning.
* There is no indication that a large earthquake (similar to the September earthquake) is going to occur following these aftershocks.
* People should take normal precautions, such as making sure heavy objects are not placed high up on shelves, securing fragile objects, having food and water stored, and a battery-powered radio and torches handy.

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