Police say sink-holes have opened up in the Wellington CBD following a severe magnitude 6.5 earthquake that damaged buildings, cut power, trapped people in lifts and injuring at least two.
Inspector Ian Harris, of Police Communications, said there had been sink-holes reported on Featherston St between Johnston and Waring Taylor streets.
The sink-holes were on the road but it was not known how big of how many there were, he said. The road has been closed.
Good that there were no serious injuries, but a reminder of how vulnerable Wellington is to earthquakes.
I worry how Wellington will fare when an even bigger quake strikes. If the CBD comes down, like in Christchurch, then different parts of the city are effectively cut off from each other, including the hospital. The road links north are also very vulnerable.
Wellington CBD workers are being urged to hold-off heading into work till noon tomorrow to give landlords and engineers time to assess quake-damaged buildings.
Wellington Region Civil Defence Controller, Bruce Pepperell, said people should check with work before heading into the CBD and if they did come in, stay away from quake-damaged facades.
“I am worried about some of the facades. It would only take a little shake to move some of that stuff and it could end in tragedy.”
KiwiRail spokeswoman Sophie Lee said there had been no reports of damage to the tracks this evening. But because much of the assessment was done after dark, the call had been made to do a more thorough check in the morning, she said.
“Given the seriousness of the aftershocks and the fact that (the inspection) is taking a lot of time, we’ve decided to take every precaution.”
No buses were available on such short notice so rail commuters would need to make alternative arrangements, she said.
KiwiRail was hopeful of having at least some services back up and running by midday on Monday.
Rather glad I was out of Wellington for this one. Being on the top floor of an apartment building, we get pretty shaken about in even minor quakes. I’m told the TV fell off the stand, books all came off the shelves, glasses smashed etc.