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Christchurch City Struck by Magnitude 5 Earthquake

The New Zealand city of Christchurch and surrounding districts were rocked by a magnitude 5 earthquake, six weeks after the nation’s largest temblor in more than 80 years caused widespread damage there.

The temblor struck at 11:32 a.m. local time and was centered about 10 kilometers (6 miles) southwest of the city, which is the largest on the nation’s South Island, the government agency said on its website. The epicenter was 9 kilometers below ground.

Christchurch is recovering from a magnitude 7 earthquake on Sept. 4 that damaged houses, buildings and roads and may cost more than NZ$4 billion ($3 billion) to repair, according to preliminary Treasury Department estimates. Today’s aftershock was the strongest of 30 felt in the region over the past week, according to GNS Science.

Lyttelton Port Co. Ltd., the largest container terminal on the South Island, “temporarily suspended operations” to carry out checks on its wharf and equipment, Chief Executive Officer Peter Davie said in a telephone interview. He expected that operations would resume this afternoon.

Power was cut to about 10,000 customers of Christchurch-based Orion Networks Ltd. for about 15 minutes, the website reported, citing the distribution company. A shopping mall was evacuated after shops suffered damage to stock, according to the report.

Departures from Christchurch’s airport were delayed while the runways were checked, Radio New Zealand reported.

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