Army takes charge in Christchurch

4:57 pm on 6 September 2010

The Army is now in control of central Christchurch as the clean-up continues following Saturday's magnitude-7.1 earthquake.

A state of emergency is still in force and nightly cordons are in place from 7pm to 7am.

Aftershocks are still being felt in the region.

More than 80 have been felt since early Saturday.

Radio New Zealand's Christchurch reporter says fatigue is setting in for emergency services personnel, who need to be replaced, which is why the army has taken over the cordons in the central city.

"Seeing their green uniforms on the streets and seeing a small central city park used as a pseudo air base for RNZAF Iroquois and police helicopters is really bringing home the scale of this disaster," she said.

Two checkpoints have been set up as access points and business owners are taking full advantage of the opportunity to check their buildings.

Police say anyone needing to get into the central city to check their property must register at the checkpoints with the soliders on duty.

The cordons will remain in place for some time as building experts have yet to examine and classify every building in the CBD.

Police advise people to stay away from the city unless they have a good reason.

Two contingents of 80 soldiers began 12-hour rotations from 8am on Monday.

Meanwhile, 80 police reinforcements brought in from Auckland on Saturday will be replaced later on Monday with officers from Wellington and Timaru.