Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Eerie silence as army takes charge in NZ quake zone

Members of the New Zealand army (R) give directions to members of the public (L) at a checkpoint on the edge of the Christchurch city centre on September 6, 2010, after a powerful earthquake which struck the city on September 4, 2010. The rubble-strewn heart of Christchurch resembled a ghost town as troops took control of the city centre to enforce a no-go zone in the wake of the earthquake. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Christchurch, New Zealand (AFP) Sept 6, 2010
The rubble-strewn heart of Christchurch resembled a ghost town Monday as troops took control of the city centre to enforce a no-go zone in the wake of Saturday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

"It's a strange sight, just absolutely eerie and very quiet," Christchurch hotelier Anna Crighton said from her bed-and-breakfast on the fringe of the central business district.

"There's hardly anyone around and no cars. I can look out of my window and just see a pile of rubble in the middle of the road."

The regular Monday morning bustle in New Zealand's second largest city was absent after officials extended a state of emergency until Wednesday and told workers to stay out of the town centre.

Uniformed soldiers manned checkpoints leading into the inner city, while army and police helicopters using a local park as a temporary airbase buzzed overhead as they carried out aerial damage reconnaissance .

School playgrounds across Christchurch and the neighbouring districts of Selwyn and Kaiapoi were silent, with classrooms deemed unsafe until structural engineers complete damage assessments.

Retailers were among the few people allowed into the city centre, not to open their businesses but to check if their shops were salvageable.

Bookshop owner Barry Hancox said he had a lucky escape after last month relocating his business from a shop where it had operated for more than 50 years, which was wrecked in the tremor.

"It's amazing, timing's everything," he told Sky News, noting much of his old shop had been reduced to rubble while premises a few doors along were untouched.

Three days after Saturday's pre-dawn quake, residents were still being advised to boil drinking water because of the risk of contamination and about 200 people whose homes were uninhabitable were sheltering in welfare centres.

"There's a lot of people out there who are hurting," police inspector John Price said.

Urging residents to check on their neighbours and friends, Price said it was too early to say when life in the city would return to normal.

"We need to make sure people are safe when they go back into that environment," he said.

Crighton said her 1892-built property was relatively unscathed because it had been earthquake-strengthened a few years ago but she was "heartbroken" at the devastation suffered by some of the old buildings that gave the city its character.

"We seen overseas, where people have rushed to demolish after widespread devastation and we can't let that happen here," she told AFP.

One of the properties under threat is the sprawling Deans homestead on the Canterbury Plains, owned by relatives of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, where the 2005 film "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was filmed.

Sections of the brick-built dwelling's walls collapsed when the quake hit, leaving the roof teetering precariously.

"It is a miracle that they all got out alive,' neighbour Gillie Deans told the Australian newspaper. "Nature can be such a bitch."

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Crime, drugs threaten Haiti election: UN report
United Nations (AFP) Sept 2, 2010
A growing use of weapons and cocaine trading through quake-stricken Haiti threaten stability ahead of key November elections, the United Nations said Thursday. A new report on the impoverished Caribbean state, where a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on January 12 killed 250,000 people, said criminal gangs are increasing their grip on many of the 1,300 camps where most of the estimated 1.3 million h ... read more

Eerie silence as army takes charge in NZ quake zone

Stalled funding hits Pakistan aid effort: UN

Crime, drugs threaten Haiti election: UN report

Hungry flood-hit Pakistanis protest lack of help

Bacteria could make self-healing concrete

Scientists create 'smarter' materials

Sony unveils new e-readers, adds touchscreen to all models

Apple unveils new iPods, cuts Apple TV price

Pollution and worsening quality focus of World Water Week

Bangladesh dams to reclaim 600 square kms of land

Amazon at lowest level in over 40 years in Peru: experts

The Atlantic And Pacific Climate Connection

Fuel tanker runs aground in Canadian Arctic: coast guard

Researchers Find A 'great Fizz' Of Carbon Dioxide At The End Of The Last Ice Age

Why Fish Don't Freeze In The Arctic Ocean

Receding ice could unlock arctic trove

NGOs call for Romanian minister to be sacked for GM links

Medvedev hints at end to Russia grain export ban

EU summons BASF over 'illegal' potatoes in Swedish field

Snack time leaves 87 toddlers in hospital in China

Toll from deadly Guatemala landslides rises to 44

Floods displace thousands more in Ethiopia

Hermine prompts hurricane watches in Mexico, Texas

Emergency extended in quake-hit New Zealand city

Safari Slovaks held in plot claim freed: C.Africa

U.S. tries to curb looting of Congo

Rwanda threatens Sudan peacekeeper pullout over UN report

South Sudan to end use of child soldiers 'by year's end'

Internet an equalizer for people with disabilities

First Clear Evidence Of Feasting In Early Humans

The Mother Of All Humans

Giant Chinese 'Michelin baby' startles doctors: reports

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement