NZ quakes cause death of nursing home resident

June 13, 2011 - 11:14 PM
New Zealand Earthquake

Damaged St. John the Baptist Church is seen following series of earthquakes that shook Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, June 13, 2011. A series of aftershocks rattled New Zealand's quake-devastated city of Christchurch again Monday, toppling one of the few buildings still standing downtown and sinking thousands of homes into darkness. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Geoff Slone) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Power was mostly restored to New Zealand's quake-rattled city of Christchurch on Tuesday, following strong aftershocks that brought down new buildings and caused the death of one nursing home resident.

The latest quakes — the strongest of which was 6.0 in magnitude — left tens of thousands without electricity Monday, on a winter night when temperatures approached freezing. By Tuesday afternoon, around 7,000 households were still without power. The power company Orion said it was providing generators to fill some of the gap.

Water supplies were also compromised, and Mayor Bob Parker was encouraging people to boil their water.

More than 40 people suffered injuries, most of them minor, in the latest earthquakes. But the Canterbury District Health Board confirmed that a quake caused the death of one elderly resident of a nursing home, according to a spokeswoman who requested anonymity, citing policy. She did not have further details.

Thousands of aftershocks have followed the 6.3-magnitude quake that killed 181 people on Feb. 22. That tremor and its aftershocks have been very shallow and close to the city, making them very destructive.

Monday's quakes sent bricks crashing down in the cordoned-off city center, where only workers have tread since it was devastated in February. About 200 people were there when the quakes struck Monday, and two were briefly trapped in a church.

The aftershocks worsened the damage to dozens more buildings and caused one of the last buildings standing in downtown to collapse. One house fell off a cliff in the shaking.

On Tuesday, Parker warned residents not to enter houses that have been condemned.

"We can avoid calamities for our people even if we can't our buildings," he said.

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Associated Press writer Sarah DiLorenzo in Sydney contributed to this report.