A curfew will be in place in central Christchurch and Kaiapoi from 7pm today until 7am tomorrow to control looting and civil unrest, the central area will also be cordoned off.
Power is slowly being restored to the city, sparking off a number of fires in buildings damaged in the 7.1 quake.
The two major concerns facing emergency teams and residents are damage to underground services (water supplies and sewerage infrastructure) which may take weeks to repair and hazardous buildings weakened by the quake which have yet to be assessed or made safe.
Around 20 aftershocks have been felt since the initial quake. Residents are advised to boil all drinking water for 3 minutes.
Casualties in the disaster have been mercifully light, due mostly to the timing of the quake that occurred whilst most people were still asleep.
A reporter on Sky News said that people were unprepared for the quake and had no emergency plans in place or disaster provisions, many supermarkets have been subject to panic buying with two hour long queues at one store.
Earlier damage estimates have been revised and are now estimated to amount to 2 billion NZ dollars. Some buildings have been reported to have sunk into the ground by about a metre, probably due to liquefaction of the ground and sand volcanoes (see photo above for an example) have appeared in some places.
Liquefaction maps for Christchurch may be found HERE dated October 2004.The city's Civil Defence Emergency Management Arrangements may also be found on that link.
Christchurch is zoned into three areas for liquefaction - high in red, moderate in yellow and low in green. Much of the central and eastern part of the city is coloured red.
Aftershocks have been going on most of the day, most recently (source):
* 7:03 pm Magnitude: 4.6, Depth: 20 km, 10 km west of Christchurch
* 6:54 pm Magnitude: 4.3, Depth: 12 km, 10 km south-west of Christchurch
* 6:38 pm Magnitude: 3.8, Depth: 12 km, 20 km south-east of Darfield
* 6:35 pm Magnitude: 3.8, Depth: 5 km, 20 km south-east of Darfield
* 5:07 pm Magnitude: 3.7, Depth: 10 km, 20 km west of Christchurch
*4:55 pm Magnitude: 5.4, Depth: 10 km, 10 km south-west of Darfield
* 4:48 pm Magnitude: 4.3, Depth: 15 km, 20 km south-west of Christchurch
Extra police have been drafted in to provide protection in Christchurch as night falls, according to Stuff.co.nz more than 80 officers have been brought into the city and the mayor has asked the army to also provide assistance, more here.
One British resident in Christchurch has just written this on an expats site:
Was woken up at 4.35 due to the violence of the quake, and have to say its the most frightened I've ever been in my life. The house was rocking incredibly, so much so that I'm still amazed its still standing, yet I had little damage apart from smashed crockery and ornaments and the living room looking like we'd been burgled.Other posts about the quake
The rest of the city hasnt been so lucky, with considerable damage elsewhere. The chinese take away across from me has lost a wall, as has a restaurant further down the road.
Some of the roads in the area have been badly damaged, and wont be passable for days or weeks, and from what I understand the river rose over its banks in some areas to.
The CBD is no-go area, with a curfew and state of emergency in force, and just to kick us when we're down its forecast 130kmh winds and torrential rain, which I'd imagine could compromise some of the precarious buildings around the city.
We're getting constant tremors, and have just had one while I've been typing, and the experts seem to think one of them is likely to hit a magnitude of 6 before we're done.
On a slightly more light hearted note I think I need to brush up my emergency management skills. In my (wine hangover affected) early morning panic I remembered the need to get out of the house and to take something to keep warm and some food, only to come to my senses sat in my car with a pillow case and a jar of gherkins.
Christchurch New Zealand Quake Gets its own Wikipedia Page
Photos of the Christchurch Earthquake
New Zealand in Shock After Massive Quake - reports from the public about how the quake affected them
Massive Earthquake in Christchurch, State of Civil Emergency Declared
Today's posts - click here