02 Mar '11, 3am

Christchurch hit by massive dust storm

Christchurch hit by massive dust storm

CHRISTCHURCH: Strong winds whipped up huge dust clouds in earthquake-hit Christchurch Wednesday, as officials defended the devastated city's building standards. Gusts of 70 kilometres per hour (44 mph) buffeted emergency teams in the ruins of New Zealand's second largest city, hampering the search for bodies amid fears of masonry dislodging and trees toppling. "The conditions have been difficult, the wind is picking up and it's very dusty in the inner city, which is making the rescue efforts more difficult," district police commander Dave Cliff told reporters. The winds stirred an estimated 200,000 tonnes of silt and sand pushed up from the ground after the power of the February 22 quake loosened the bond between soil particles in a process called liquefaction. Search and rescue teams donned respirators as they raked through the wreckage, while supplies of facemasks -- sto...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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