Over 1 00,000 homes damaged by Christchurch quake: New Zealand PM

Wellington, Sep 6 (ANI): New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key on Monday said that an estimated 1 00,000 homes were damaged by Saturday morning's 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit nearly half of all dwellings in the Canterbury region.

Prime Minister Key made this announcement this afternoon, while announcing that the government would give five million dollars to the Mayoral Relief Fund to meet the needs of those affected by the quake.

"The 100,000 figure shows the true extent of the quake's damage. The Mayoral fund has been set up for those not covered by social welfare. The fund, with the added help of the public and some banks, is now up to six million dollar," New Zealand Herald quoted Key, as saying.

"Of the 160,000 homes in the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri areas, 100,000 could be damaged and some will be beyond repair. The Government estimated a $94m cost for infrastructure repair and replacement in the area," he added after a three-hour cabinet meeting this afternoon.

Key said many homes and businesses will be covered by insurance and the Earthquake Commission (EQC), but those without insurance, will be looked at on a 'case by case basis'.

"We have to be very careful in that situation. A very strong message needs to be sent to New Zealanders and that is: You need to have insurance. The EQC had already received 15,000 claims. Three field offices will be opened in Christchurch, each with 40 staff," said Key.

New Zealand's second largest city, Christchurch, was extensively damaged and emergency was declared early Saturday, after a massive 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit the city causing widespread damage.

Buildings were destroyed, infrastructure including water and sewage pipes damaged, and people injured in the quake, which struck 40 km west of Christchurch at 4.35 a.m. (ANI)

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