Two new serious earthquakes rattled tremblor-weary Christchurch today, sending boulders plunging down hillsides and injuring residents. The 5.2 and a 6.0 quakes struck just 20 minutes apart around lunch time, sending panicked New Zealanders into the streets. Two men were rescued from rubble that collapsed on top of them as they were salvaging windows from a church damaged by February's massive 6.3 quake, reports AP. City officials were concerned the tremors may have further damaged Christchurch cathedral, devastated in the last quake, but it was still too dangerous to approach the building for inspection. "Thank God we had evacuated the red zone," said the mayor, referring to the city center which remains closed.
"We are being enveloped with dust. It's very, very scary," he added. "We need to get a picture of what is really happening and to make a call on where we need to send our essential services." An inquiry into buildings damage in the last quake was called off mid-meeting as the city began to shake. Close to 80% of Christchurch was damaged in the last quake that claimed close to 200 lives. Some 10,000 houses and nearly 1,000 commercial buildings will have to be demolished, notes the BBC.