Christchurch earthquakes: 'It's like being on death row'

19:31, Jun 13 2011
Christchuch Quake 13/06
The clean-up begins at Stanmore Rd SuperValue in Linwood after the quake.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A collapsed building on the corner of Worcester St and Stanmore Rd.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Damage on the corner of Stanmore Rd and Worcester St.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A man holds his son after the second, large aftershock on June 13.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A collapsed building near the Christchuch central business district.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
St John ambulance staff gather outside their St Asaph St workplace after the June 13 earthquakes.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A map showing real-time shaking from New Zealand's network of seismographs. The colour of the square reflects the intensity at that seismograph over the last hour.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A graphic showing how the two largest of June 13's quakes was felt across New Zealand.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Dust rising over Sumner due to falling cliffs.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A man works to get his motorbike out of liquefaction on Pages Rd, Bexley, after the biggest of June 13's earthquakes.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A car on Ferry Rd, Ferrymead, in a sinkhole caused by June 13's quakes.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
The view down Lichfield St after the June 13 quakes.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
People gather outside Christchurch International Airport after being evacuated due to the June 13 aftershocks.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Dust rises over Christchurch's central business district moments after the magnitude-6.3 aftershock on June 13. Photo taken on Hackthorne Rd, Cashmere.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Flooding in Avonside Dr, Avonside.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Dust rises from rockfall on Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour moments after the second large aftershock on June 13.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Dust rises over Christchurch's central business district after the big magnitude-6.3 aftershock on June 13.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A cyclist and van make their way through flooding on Retreat Rd, Avonside after the magnitude-6.3 earthquake on June 13.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Cars in sinkholes and flooding on Ferry Rd, Ferrymead.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A house on Kinsey Tce, Clifton that partially fell down the cliff after the quakes on June 13. This is looking down on Peacocks Gallop across the road from Shag Rock.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Flooding on Woolley St, Avondale.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
People evacuated from Westfield Riccarton Mall after the magnitude-5.5 aftershock.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A crack on Old West Coast Rd.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A crack in Richardson Tce, Opawa.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff during a media conference about the June 13 aftershocks.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff talk in discussion on June 14 outside the central police station on Hereford St.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Broken glass from the aftershocks.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A June 14 media meeting at Cranmer Square with Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Canterbury Police District Commander Dave Cliff after June 13's large aftershocks.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Redcliffs resident Grant Taylor said this picture was "a fluke". He was in the lounge of his Challenger Ln home trying to relax after the unsettling magnitude 5.5 quake, when the second, larger shock hit. "We were ... looking out the window when I saw that big cloud. My camera was there on a table so I grabbed it."
Christchuch Quake 13/06
The Holy Trinity Church in Lyttelton finally falls flat after June 13's earthquakes.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A close-up view of a house on Kinsey Tce, Clifton that partially fell down the cliff after the quakes on June 13.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Geovert engineering firm engineers use high pressure air on the soil behind a boulder at the top of a cliff overlooking Shag Rock at Sumner.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A house on Kinsey Tce, Clifton that partially fell down the cliff after the quakes on June 13. This is looking down on Peacocks Gallop across the road from Shag Rock.
Christchurch Quake 13/06
A close-up view of a house on Kinsey Tce, Clifton that partially fell down the cliff after the quakes on June 13.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Geovert engineering firm engineers at the top of a cliff overlooking Shag Rock at Sumner.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Liquefaction in the Avon Heathcote Estuary.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Major damage in Oxford St, Lyttelton. The whole front of this building has collapsed. It was OK after the February 22 earthquake, as the shock came from the west, while this shock came from the east, so this wall fell out.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Lyttelton's Union Parish Church, which had stood up reasonably well in the last quakes due to its small size.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
In this aerial photo liquefaction mounds and bubbling mud is visible in the Avon Heathcote Estuary at low tide.
gallery liquefaction
More liquefaction and damage in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch. Seabreeze Cl residents Jesse Macilquham, 15, and Rohan Gibberd, 15, start cleaning up.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Timeball station, as seen from the air.

It was the last thing already battered and broken Christchurch needed.

Two more powerful earthquakes brought the damaged city to a standstill yesterday, opening sinkholes in roads, toppling buildings, flooding streets and bursting pipes.

At least 10 people, including one person with suspected spinal injuries and two with shattered hips, are in Christchurch Hospital. Altogether, about 46 people were treated at the hospital and the 24-hour surgery in Bealey Ave.

Christchurch aerial
Timeball Station after the magnitude-6 earthquake.
Christchurch aerial
Lichfield Street with scaffold falling from the bus exchange.
Christchurch aerial
The Mount Pleasant hill suffers again.
Christchurch aerial
The causeway to Long Lookout Point, showing dust from the destruction that hit the city from the coast.
Christchurch aerial
The corner of Worcester Street and Stanmore Road.
Christchurch aerial
Dust over Manchester Street and Gloucester Street
Christchurch aerial
Colombo Street and Tuam Street.
Christchurch aerial
The road over to Sumner from Lyttelton.
Christchurch aerial
The Christ Church cathedral.
Christchurch aerial
Part of a home down the cliff at Peacocks Gallop.
An area of Christchurch between Queen Elizabeth Park and the Avon River.
An area of Christchurch between Queen Elizabeth Park and the Avon River.
An area of Christchurch between Queen Elizabeth Park and the Avon River.
An area of Christchurch between Queen Elizabeth Park and the Avon River.
Dust rises from around St Lukes on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore streets.
Dust rises from around St Lukes on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore streets.
Dust rises from the Manchester-Gloucester streets area.
Dust rises from the Manchester-Gloucester streets area.
The Christchurch Press building in The Square.
The Christchurch Press building in The Square.
The unstable rock face behind the Sumner School.
The unstable rock face behind Redcliffs School.
Vehicles make their way through water along Ferry Road at Ferrymead.
Vehicles make their way through water along Ferry Road at Ferrymead.
Liquefaction at Porritt Park.
Liquefaction at Porritt Park.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
A house on Kinsey Tce, Clifton that partially fell down the cliff after the quakes on June 13. This is looking down on Peacocks Gallop across the road from Shag Rock.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
In this aerial photo liquefaction mounds and bubbling mud is visible in the Avon Heathcote Estuary at low tide.
Christchuch Quake 13/06
Timeball station, as seen from the air.

Most were hurt by falling building material after a 5.5 quake at 1pm. As residents reeled, another tremor, this time 6.0, hit at 2.20pm.

People in the eastern suburbs said they were "back to square one" after being swamped by fresh liquefaction. "People just can't do it any more," community advocate Leanne Curtis said. The liquefaction was worse in some areas than in September and February.

Dominion Post columnist Jane Bowron was at the airport when the first quake struck, and said there was mass panic as people ran for safety. "The whole place started rocking – it seemed to go on for a very long time."

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The major aftershock, on top of the continuing jolts, was "just more rain coming down", she said. "It's a challenging, tough time. Very definitely, it's wearing people down.

"It's sort of like being on death row ... you get reprieves but you know that it's serious, but it's just what the earth is going through."

But as the latest of a series of aftershocks since the 6.3 quake on February 22 raised more questions about whether life in Christchurch was sustainable, Bowron insisted she would stay put for now, with the support of friends and neighbours. "It's what you need in this situation – you just need company."

Assistant minister Peter Collier, of St John's in Latimer Square, hurried to the central city church after learning that demolition workers were trapped by the 5.5 quake. By the time he arrived, the men had been freed – and then the 6.0 quake hit.

"I looked down Hereford St and I could see debris falling from the buildings. It was frightening. Your mind just goes out to the rest of Christchurch. You just wait anxiously to see what's happened to everyone. People seem resilient but it takes its toll."

The flurry of quakes also led to the indefinite adjournment of the inquest into the deaths of 106 people when the CTV building collapsed in February. The three-day inquest had been due to start yesterday.

Fire Service spokesman Dan Coward said there had been countless callouts to burst pipes, especially in the Sumner area, where many locals were "freaked out". St John Ambulance reported a rise in people with chest pains and breathing difficulties.

Christchurch Airport closed immediately after the quakes, but reopened later in the afternoon. Air New Zealand added four extra flights to and from Christchurch last night to cope with the backlog.

The Education Ministry was advising all schools and early childhood education services in the city to remain closed today so management could assess damage.

The Dominion Post