Fresh quake hits New Zealand city

A magnitude-4,8 earthquake rattled a New Zealand city on Saturday after it was hit by a powerful temblor earlier this week that resulted in millions of dollars in damage.

Geological agency GNS Science said the aftershock shook the area at 11.30am local time on Friday and was centred 30km south-east of Gisborne at a depth of 30km.

There were no reports of injuries or damage from the third magnitude-four aftershock in a day and a half.

Thursday’s 6,8-magnitude quake wrecked an apartment building and two shops in the port city, 50km from the quake’s epicentre. Other damage including caved-in roofs and cracked walls on buildings and gaping holes in roadways.

Sixteen people suffered minor injuries in the quake, which caused some residents to flee for higher ground amid tsunami fears. No wave was generated, however.

Gisborne mayor Meng Foon said the city’s central business area had reopened and about 70% of shops would be operating on Saturday.

Earthquake Commission insurance manager Lance Dixon said early estimates indicated NZ$30-million ($23-million) in damage was incurred.

New Zealand sits above an area of the Earth’s crust where two tectonic plates are colliding. It records more than 14 000 earthquakes a year — but only about 150 of those are felt by residents and fewer than 10 do any damage. — Sapa-AP

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