Friday, August 16, 2013

Flurry of aftershocks continue to rattle central New Zealand - TVNZ

Aerial footage captures Seddon damage

Aerial footage captures Seddon damage

A slip on State Highway One near Seddon (Source: ONE News)

A slip on State Highway One near Seddon - Source: ONE News

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Aftershocks continue to rattle central New Zealand following yesterday's large quake.

Between 6am and 10.30am this morning, GeoNet reported more than 25 shakes, most magnitude 2 or 3 and centred to the east of Seddon.

A 4.4 magnitude aftershock hit at 10.26am, the largest since a 4.7 quake which struck at around 3am.

Yesterday's 6.6 quake hit near Seddon at 2.31pm at a depth of 8km and aftershocks immediately followed, continuing throughout the afternoon and night.

Several shocks were greater than magnitude four and all have been centred to the south and the east of Seddon, with depths ranging between five and 20 kilometres.

Damaged caused by the big shake closed a stretch of the South Island's main highway.

The NZ Transport Agency says crews have been working to repair long cracks in the surface of State Highway One between Seddon and south of Ward.

Marlborough Roads Manager Frank Porter said the earthquake opened up several large cracks in the road and contractors are working to get these filled as soon as possible.

"If we do the job in one swoop then that reduces the overall disruption to motorists, and the troops are working as fast as they can to restore access for everyone," he said.

"We know this is frustrating for the motorists and truckies who rely on this lifeline, and we hope to provide some welcome relief very soon."

One lane on the road is expected to be reopened about lunchtime, but delays are likely throughout the day.

In Blenheim, the Needle Creek Bridge and Flaxbourne Bridge, which are about 5 kilometres apart on SH1, are closed due to damage.

Clean-up begins

Speaking from Seddon, ONE News reporter Lorelei Mason said that locals are experiencing "déjà vu".

She said the local supermarket in Seddon was a mess with bottles strewn and spilt, produce in ruins and the lights hanging precariously.

"It hit with force a little bit different from what we got last time, more extensive," said local business owner Marie Floweday.

"It's a big mess and it's going to be a big clean up, it's much more bigger than last time," the supermarket's owner Kevin Kamat told ONE News.

The emergency welfare centre set up in Seddon is still operating this morning, following the night of relentless aftershocks.

Around 20 people spent the night at the centre at Seddon School, because of damage to their homes.

"The community spirit is pretty high here and people in numbers is what they like, it reassures them," Chris Halves of Civil Defence Blenheim said.

Police and building inspectors are checking out properties, and the district's mayor, Alistair Sowman, will visit Seddon today.

Victim Support is also basing one of its staff at the welfare centre for the day.

Lift shaft to be demolished

Civil Defence, police and fire services have reported a quiet night in Wellington overnight, with the CBD open for business this weekend.

However, people are advised to pay attention to any cordons in the city.

An information centre will be open at Wellington City Council civic building between 10am and 4pm today. All council facilities, including libraries, are open.

The council says all major utilities and infrastructure have been inspected and they are operating as normal.

Advice from Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is that people should enjoy their normal weekend activities as much as possible.

She said both the Downtown Community Ministry bookfair and the Kirk's sale are starting today.

"The city is operating as usual, sportsfields and recreation facilities are open - get out there and enjoy them," she said.

Meanwhile, a nine story lift shaft attached to the James Smith car-parking building is to be demolished after suffering further damage in yesterday's quake.

Engineers are on site and a large crane has arrived. Demolition is expected to take several days.

Residents from nearby buildings have been evacuated and Civil Defence welfare has found temporary accommodation for about 30 people.

Trains to start running

Wellington's trains are back running as normal this morning.

KiwiRail says inspections have found no damage to the lines, so unless there is another large jolt, services will resume as normal.

There is no structural damage to the Wellington Railway Station.

Tranz Metro says its website will be updated regularly and if anything changes it will let passengers know online and through its text messaging system.

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