The shallow aftershock which was centered near Christchurch's port of Lyttelton caused much more damage than the 7.1 earthquake that shook the city awake on the early hours of 4 September
leaving rubble in the place of several historic buildings and sending dust, glass, bricks and rocks flying.
At least 75 deaths have been officially reported, and hundreds have been injured by falling masonry and glass. Several hundred people are feared trapped in the debris in the central city. Rescue attempts are underway
but is expected to take days to complete according to the latest NZ Civil Defence
Power and water was cut to most areas as a result of the quake. Power was restored to about 50 percent of residents last night, but only 20 percent have running water.
The city centre has been cordoned off and a state of emergency which is expected to be in place until the weekend has been declared.
Aftershocks of magnitudes of up to 4 and 5 continue to rock the city and a number of people are packing up and leaving town to escape the constant reminder of the big one.
The NZ Herald reports
that about 300 people are still reported missing. The online report quotes Christchurch's mayor, Bob Parker as saying:
"With those 300 missing people could just be someone called up saying so and so is missing - they may have just left town."