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Quakes rock Christchurch again

A series of aftershocks have rattled New Zealand's quake-devastated city of Christchurch again.

Bricks came crashing down in the cordoned-off city centre, where only workers have been since it was devastated in February's major earthquake.

About 200 people were there when the quakes struck - two were briefly trapped in a church. In all, 10 people were injured in the city.

"This has been a setback for Christchurch and its people, but it does not lessen our resolve to rebuild," said Prime Minister John Key.

Across the city, people fled buildings in panic when a 5.2-magnitude quake struck during lunch time. Just over an hour later a 6.0-magnitude quake hit, according to the US Geological Survey, while other smaller quakes were also recorded.

"We are being enveloped with dust," said Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker. "It is very, very scary."

The city has been shaken by thousands of aftershocks since the 6.3-magnitude quake killed 181 people on February 22. Like that tremor, the two biggest quakes on Monday were very shallow, both around six miles deep. The shallow depth of the February quake and its proximity to the city helped magnify its destructive force.

About 47,000 homes in the city's eastern suburbs were left without power after the latest aftershocks when temperatures were expected to approach freezing.

More than 40 people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries from falling debris, the city council said.

Two of them were salvaging windows from St John's Church when the building's facade, the last wall standing after February's quake, collapsed. Police said they were rescued and taken to a hospital with cuts and bruises.

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