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Central City cordons reduced

Central City cordons reduced

Cordons in the Central City have been reduced this evening as emergency services complete public safety assessments around buildings damaged by the series of Boxing Day earthquakes.

Closures will remain in place overnight in the following locations:

* Cashel Street (City Mall) from Oxford Terrace to Colombo Street
* Gloucester Street from Manchester Street to Latimer Square
* Manchester Street from Worcester Street to Gloucester Street
* Manchester Street from Hereford Street to Cashel Street (existing closure from previous damage)
* Tramway Lane

Closures on Lichfield Street and Colombo Street have now been lifted, while Hereford Street from Oxford Terrace to Colombo Street will reopen to traffic before midnight. Police will staff the cordons overnight and Civil Defence assessors will continue working in these areas in the morning. Cordons introduced elsewhere in the Central City today have been reduced to areas around individual buildings.

The work being carried out today in the Central City by Civil Defence building assessors, assisted by the New Zealand Fire Service, is an initial check of the extent of damage, with the aim of protecting public safety on footpaths and roads adjacent to damaged buildings

It is the responsibility of building owners, working with their insurers, to have their buildings structurally assessed by engineers. Any remediation work necessary will be carried out by the building owner and their insurer.

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A Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been set up at the Christchurch City Council's Hereford Street building to coordinate emergency services. 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. City infrastructure - water, wastewater and stormwater networks - were undamaged during the recent quakes. The EOC will remain open until all of the public safety assessments in the Central City have been completed. Residents are advised to use the 111 emergency call system if they believe they are in immediate danger.

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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