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Strong tremors again rock shaken New Zealand city

[ 2011-06-14 10:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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A series of aftershocks rattled New Zealand's quake-devastated city of Christchurch again on Monday, toppling one of the few buildings still standing downtown and sinking thousands of homes into darkness.

Bricks came crashing down in the cordoned-off city center, where only workers have trodden since it was devastated in an earthquake in February. About 200 people were there when the quakes struck, and two were briefly trapped in a church. In all, 10 people were injured in the city.

"We are being enveloped with dust," Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told New Zealand's National Radio. "It is very, very scary."

People fled buildings in panic when a 5.2-magnitude quake struck during lunchtime; just over an hour later, a 6.0-magnitude quake hit, according to the US Geological Survey. Other, smaller quakes were also recorded.

In the central city and nearby suburbs, several buildings were damaged.

"All the shops have fallen down," said Renee Murray, who works at a Domino's Pizza in a suburb. "Half of the roof has fallen in (but) they have not fully collapsed."

The city has been shaken by thousands of aftershocks since a 6.3-magnitude quake killed 181 people on Feb 22. Like that tremor, Monday's two biggest quakes were very shallow, both occurring around 10 kilometers down, according to the US Geological Survey.

The shallow depth of the February quake and its proximity to the city made the destruction it caused worse.

About 47,000 homes in the city's eastern suburbs were without power on Monday night, when temperatures were expected to approach freezing. Rocks tumbled down hills in the area, which was among the hardest hit in February, and silt bubbled up from the earth - a process known as liquefaction that sometimes happens during a quake.

More than 40 people have been taken to hospitals with minor injuries from falling debris, the city council said.

After the February quake, 300,000 tons of silt had to be scraped away, and the silt alone made thousands of homes uninhabitable.


1. What magnitude were the quakes that struck Christchurch on Monday?

2. How many people were in the city?

3. When did the last quake occur?


1. 5.2 and 6.0.

2. 200.

3. February 22.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Strong tremors again rock shaken New Zealand city

Strong tremors again rock shaken New Zealand city

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.