Christchurch earthquake: More evacuations after tremor

Subsidence as a result of Tuesday's earthquake, on Clifton Terrace. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Subsidence as a result of Tuesday's earthquake, on Clifton Terrace. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A magnitude 4.1 aftershock just before 8am has prompted the evacuation of residents on Clifton Hill in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner.

Police said up to 60 properties were being evacuated over concerns about the stability of a cliff face. It was not known how long residents would need to stay out of their homes.

Police said officers were contacting each affected house directly and a geologist was assessing cracks in the cliff.

Residents in Kinsey Terrace, Tuawera Terrace and at the bottom of Clifton Terrace are asked to proceed past the Sumner Beach Surf club and assemble in an area near the Poseidon Cafe.

Residents said more rocks were dislodged during this morning's tremor.

The 7.55am aftershock was centred 10km south-east of Christchurch at a depth of 5km, GNS Science reported.

It was followed by a 3.4 magnitude aftershock north-east of Lyttelton at 9.20am.

The evacuations at Clifton Hill came after Civil Defence closed the main road into Sumner to assess the stability of the rock face between Cave Terrace to Nayland Street.

Civil Defence said people should use Evans Pass via Mount Pleasant Road and Summit Road to access the area.

So far 147 people have been formally identified and more than 50 remain unaccounted for after last Tuesday's earthquake.

Police have said the death toll is expected to pass 200. They expect to officially name two more of the deceased later today.

The first funeral for a victim of the quake will be held today. One of the youngest victims, five-month-old Baxtor Gowland, will be farewelled at a service in Upper Riccarton.

Assistance package

Cabinet will today discuss a package to assist with the immediate recovery from last Tuesday's earthquake, such as an extension of the $350 subsidy a week per worker put in place after the September quake. That subsidy was only for workplaces with 20 or less employees but Mr Key said today's package would be broader.

Prime Minister John Key told TV One's Breakfast programme the Government would help those companies in the central business district (CBD), closed by the quake but able to open temporarily in other locations.

"We need to go through lots of different analysis of what is actually required," he said.

Cost of quake about $13 billion

Mr Key estimated this quake would cost about $13 billion, on top of the $6b-$7b of the first quake. The Earthquake Commission picked up about $4b, $5b would come from reinsurance and $5b-$6b through private insurance.

That left a shortfall of about $5b.

On top of that the country would have to deal with the economic ramifications of the quake.

"When you see the May budget, and we haven't had any advice on this yet... it's going to have a substantial impact in two areas.

"One, the revenue will be reduced, we get revenue from tax, economic activity is down, less revenue coming in. The second thing is, and this is the immediate sort of outgoing, the sort of package we are announcing today and other packages they will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars over time. That costs us money that was unexpected."

Global fund-raiser

At the weekend Mr Key launched a global fund-raiser the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

"This (the earthquake) is of world-wide proportions and affects a world-wide audience," Mr Key said today.

Donations can be made at www.christchurchearthquakeappeal.govt.nz

Telecom, Vodafone and 2Degrees mobile customers can text chch to 933 to make an automatic $3 donation, and donations can also be made through internet banking or at any branch of New Zealand's retail banks.

- NZPA, NZHERALD STAFF, NEWSTALK ZB and AGENCIES

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