Curfew continues in shaken Christchurch

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Road workers begin the task of cleaning up debris. Photo / Getty Images
Road workers begin the task of cleaning up debris. Photo / Getty Images

Safety first is the message authorities want to convey to the people of Canterbury, as many displaced locals face a second night away from their homes.

A curfew will once again be in place from 7pm in the shellshocked central business district following yesterday's devastating earthquake.

The state of emergency will be reassessed at noon tomorrow.

The Chamber of Commerce is urging employees to check with their employer before going to work tomorrow, and to "stay out" if there is any question about the structural integrity of their offices.

Much of the CBD is still closed off to the general public, with police and security staff stationed by the cordons.

Similarly, Kaiapoi's central district is also still cordoned off; army and police assistance will be in the town tomorrow.

Road cordons will be lifted as soon as police and Civil Defence are satisfied that the area is safe.

Coloured signs are being placed on buildings to indicate whether they are safe to enter.

Green means there is no restriction on occupancy, Yellow means entry is restricted only to essential business and Red buildings are unsafe to enter.

Owners should engage a structural engineer if they have any doubts about a building.

Around 90 buildings in the CBD are damaged.

Meanwhile, Civil Defence is keeping a close eye on the Waimakariri River, where stopbanks at the ocean end of the river and near Kaiapoi are at about 50 percent capability after the earthquake.

Heavy rains could cause the river to swell, forcing the evacuation of residents.

Safety was the most important factor for emergency staff in Canterbury, Civil Defence Minister John Carter said.

They were conscious of the winds and rain forecast for tonight and were contacting elderly people to ensure they were looked after.

Welfare centres are open at Addington Raceway, Linwood College, Brooklyn's Community Centre and Burnside High School, and another will open at 10am at the Rolleston Community Centre on Rolleston Dr.

Red Cross spokeswoman Rosemarie North says people needing emergency shelter should try to take stretchers and blankets to the centres if possible. They should also take medication and baby food.

Water
Water supply remains a key concern. Any drinking water should be boiled for at least three minutes.

Water is available from tankers at Parkview School and the Linwood Welfare Centre at Linwood College. People must bring their own containers to collect the water.

In Selwyn, bottled water is available from West Melton BP and Rolleston Community Centre. The district sewer systems are overloaded due to utilities being damaged so limit showers, doing washing and flushing of toilets. This is especially important in the Rolleston and Tai Tapu areas.

70 per cent of water has been restored in Kaiapoi.There is a portable tanker is at North Kaiapoi School, and water is also available at the Pines Beach Hall.

Residents should treat all surface water on streets in Kaiapoi and properties as contaminated but have been given the all clear to flush toilets.

Power
The majority - 95 per cent - of Canterbury has electricity. But it may be two to three days before power can be restored to some houses. In
extreme cases, where a single home or business is still without power in an area where power has otherwise been restored, it may take four to five days.

Consumers are asked to avoid unnecessary use to prevent the network overloading.

Schools
Schools and early childhood centres in Christchurch, Waimakariri, and Selwyn districts will be closed until at least Wednesday.

The University of Canterbury campus is currently secured and closed to staff and students until Monday September 13.

Lincoln University will be closed until at least tomorrow.

Transport
Buses in the greater Christchurch area will not run tomorrow.

The Diamond Harbour Ferry will operate as per usual allowing people to travel to Lyttelton, although there will be no connecting buses for travel to Christchurch.

For more information see http://www.metroinfo.co.nz/.

The following rail lines are closed:
The Belfast-Rangiora line
The Christchurch-Belfast line
Bridge 18 between Kaiapoi and Belfast
The Lyttelton-Middleton line
The Rolleston-Cass line

Communications
Christchurch payphones are free for local, national and mobile calls.

Landlines are reportedly working well.

111 services are fully available. However, Telecom is still urging its customers to reserve power on its network for emergency calls only.

Hospitals
All non-essential surgical and medical procedures booked in Christchurch for tomorrow have been cancelled.

Urgent surgery will go ahead, including caesarean sections and inductions of labour at Christchurch Women's Hospital.

All planned admissions for Christchurch, Christchurch Women's and Burwood Hospitals have been cancelled, and affected patients are being contacted, Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates says.

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