Aftershocks rock New Zealand city after major quake
Aftershocks continued to rattle the eastern New Zealand city of
Gisborne Friday after a powerful 6.8 earthquake smashed buildings and
left a gaping hole in a street.
No major injuries were reported after Thursday night’s quake, which
was felt throughout much of New Zealand, although many people had been
Christmas shopping in the city area when it struck.
But Television New Zealand reported that an elderly woman in her
eighties died just after the quake struck of a heart attack. Her family
blamed the shock of the tremblor for her death, the report said.
The centre of Gisborne was cordoned off Friday and a state of
emergency declared as engineers checked the safety of commercial
buildings in the city of 42,000 on the east coast of New Zealand’s North
Gisborne District Council spokesman Vance Walker said an apartment
building and two shops had partially collapsed and roofs and awnings had
caved in. Eleven people were treated at Gisborne hospital’s emergency
department for minor injuries, authorities said.
Aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.5 and 4.2 shook the area Friday
morning, following the initial quake at 8:55 pm (0755 GMT) on Thursday,
which was centred about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Gisborne,
government GNS Science seismologists said.
Reports said most of the major structural damage appeared to be
limited to larger old buildings, although many residents reported damage
to belongings flung across rooms in their homes. Following the quake,
Kathleen Munn, who lives just outside the city, said the shaking was
“The roof started creaking and the house started shaking, so I
grabbed onto the doorway and the house started rocking from side to
side,” she told Radio New Zealand.
“The books all jumped off the bookcase and the bottles all jumped off
“I thought the house was going to fall down. It was very, very
frightening. I felt terrified.”
A central city resident, Tim Lewis, who was in a van when the quake
struck, said plate glass windows shattered and verandahs collapsed in
the commercial centre.
Gisborne, Friday, AFP