Update: Friday 23rd December 2011, 6.30pm

Three major aftershocks have hit Christchurch this afternoon – 5.8, 5.3 and then 5.8.

Civil Defence says that the situation in the city is not as bad as it was in September or February in terms of damage or liquefaction – but probably similar to what was experienced in June.

There are no plans to declare a state of emergency and the people of Christchurch are urged to take care of their families and neighbours as they have done in the past.

Civil Defence staff have flown over the city by helicopter which has revealed:

  •  Rockfalls in the Port Hills particularly Redcliffs, Scarborough and Whitewash Head, Peacocks Gallop and Richmond Hill; but no major landslips and no obvious impact on properties and lifelines on the Port Hills.  There are more rocks on Evans Pass Road.
  • Further damage to the Christchurch Cathedral’s western wall and to other buildings in the city.
  • There is liquefaction in the east of the city – particularly Dallington, Wainoni. Avonside and Parklands.  Bexley is the worst area and there are reports of cars stuck in liquefaction.  There do not appear to be any new areas of liquefaction.  There has also been flooding on some roads, particularly around Pages Road.

People are advised to stay away from the Port Hills unless they live there or need to be there.  Teams of geotechnical engineers are out now assessing the hill areas from Sumner to Diamond Harbour.   If residents are concerned about any rock fall, cliff collapse or landslide issues around their homes they should contact the Council call centre, which can alert geotechnical engineers.

The Council is currently inspecting roads and other infrastructure.  Critical bridges have been checked including bridges at Moorhouse Avenue, Bridge Street and Gayhurst Road, and there has been no further damage to these.  Traffic lights are out in the east of the city

The Lyttelton tunnel is open.

There has been a sewer overflow into the Avon River reported and people should avoid contact with the river and the estuary for 48 hours.  The city’s treatment plants are working.  There is no apparent damage to water infrastructure and the Chief Medical Officer of Health is not advising people to boil water at this stage.

There has been some stop bank damage along the Avon River but no breaches.  The next high tide around 4am Saturday may bring issues.

People are advised not to travel unless it is essential.  Buses will operate a restricted service for the rest of the day to ensure people can get home tonight.

Windsor School hall is being activated as a welfare centre and will be open by 8pm.  This is just for sheltering overnight and there will be no catering.  People planning to use the centre need to bring their own supplies (food and bedding etc).

There is plenty of fuel and no need for people to panic buy fuel.  Petrol stations are well stocked and there is plenty of bulk fuel at Lyttelton.

Orion is reporting that 13,000 homes are without power, mainly in the Brighton area.  Most are expected to have power back on by dark tonight but people are asked to prepare for intermittent power supply for the next few days.

If you are worried about the safety of your home evacuate the building and contact a building professional as soon as you are able.

Owners of commercial buildings are urged to check their buildings before allowing people to occupy them.

There will be four teams of Civil Defence and Red Cross staff door knocking in the east tonight to determine needs of residents and offer reassurance.
The CBD red zone has been shut down and no-one is allowed in.

The Council call centre is up and running for people with urgent water and sewage calls.  Ph 941 8999 or 0800 800 169, but please be patient.

There will be a further update at 10.30pm today.

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