Amadeusz Juskowiak

Earthquakes continue to shake northern new zealand

Earthquakes and aftershocks are still shaking areas of northern New Zealand following yesterdays strong tremor which left 3000 people homeless

Four earthquakes measuring up to 45 on the Richter scale have hit the Bay of Plenty and Waikato region in the northeast since midnight yesterday 1200 GMT

No casualties have been reported and no further major damage civil defence sources said Twentyfive people were treated for bone fractures after yesterdays shock

A government seismologist said from Rotorua in the North Island some five tremors were being recorded every 10 minutes

Todays quakes were felt over an area of 100 square km the seismologist added

A state of civil defence emergency in the area was declared yesterday and is still in force with schools closed and access to the worsthit towns of Edgecumbe Whakatane and the forestry town of Kawerau severely restricted

Yesterdays quake measured 625 on the Richter scale

The seismologist said if the pattern of other large earthquakes was followed the shocks would continue for one to several weeks declining in frequency and magnitude But the chance of a further large shock could not be ruled out

Civil defence officials said major roadslips and landslides in the area are being cleared with power and water restored to most areas Rail lines twisted by earth movements are being repaired

Prime Minister David Lange visited the region today before flying to Auckland to attend a South Pacific Forum conference of foreign ministers

A small force of troops was moved into the area to assist civil defence workers and volunteers Civil defence sources said people would shortly begin to return to their homes when the buildings are declared safe

REUTER