Within hours of Saturday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Canterbury, streets were flooded by broken water mains and sewage pipes. A state of emergency was declared, suburbs were evacuated and fires broke out as gas and electricity were restored.

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Within hours of Saturday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Canterbury, streets were flooded by broken water mains and sewage pipes. There were early reports of looting – which turned out later to be a few drunks stealing beer from a liquor shop. Railway lines were bent; whole trees moved by metres; buildings were left faceless and staggering. A state of emergency was declared, suburbs were evacuated and fires broke out as gas and electricity were restored.

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