Earthquake related news May 18, 2011

Earthquake news related to recent events (in-depth articles) will be written as updates in these (recent) articles. These articles can be found in the top 10 excerpts on the homepage. Updates for earlier earthquakes can be found on these pages. This page will be regularly updated.
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New Zealand (dangerous unstable buildings)
The Fire Service is investigating how three Christchurch firefighters ended up in hospital after being injured in a blaze. More than 40 firefighters fought the blaze which broke out at the two-storey Trimble Navigations building in Middleton just before 12.30am.
Part of the building collapsed, sending the three injured firefighters falling. Questions are now being asked about whether the firefighters should have gone into the blaze. The earthquake damage to the two-storey building meant the Fire Service were initially reluctant to send crews into the building. $$$

New Zealand (lessons learned)
Early reports from Christchurch found patterns of damage that are familiar to seismic engineers: the destruction of older,  unreinforced masonry structures (like the Christchurch Cathedral) and the collapse of a handful of high-rise buildings that were built prior to modern seismic engineering standards. But it also appears that there were ground accelerations recorded in the Christchurch area that exceeded the design specifications of more recent buildings. Furthermore, there are clear indications of earthquake-induced liquefaction, or ground failure, and flooding that exacerbated impacts and hampered disaster response.  $$$

United States (Oklahoma)
A state seismologist says Oklahoma is on track to experience a high number of earthquakes this year but expects the number and intensity to be less than last year as the state returns to normal seismic levels. $$$

South Africa
Residents of the Southern Cape have told how a light earthquake, which shook the region at about 16:10 on Saturday, sounded like "a plane flying low". The tremor was felt for at least five seconds in towns like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Sedgefield, George, Mossel Bay, Prince Albert and in the Langkloof, according to the website of the South African Weather and Disaster Information Service.

Vietnam has tested its first tsunami warning system, the builder said on Monday, in an effort to prevent a massive loss of life if giant waves strike the coast. Vietnam began preparing the alert system following the Asian tsunami of December 26, 2004, which killed more than 220,000 people around the region — although not in Vietnam — in one of the world’s worst natural disasters. The trial, which involved two of 10 alert stations along the central Vietnam coast, was successful, according to Dinh Duc Thang, assistant director at Viettel Telecom’s office in Danang. $$$

Japan (apple)
Apple customers with Macs, displays, and iOS devices that were directly damaged in the Japan earthquake and tsunami may be eligible for free repairs. The offer, posted on the company's Japanese website, excludes iPod classic, nano, and shuffle, and only applies to customers living in areas covered by the Ministry of Health's Disaster Relief Act.

Japan has confirmed the deaths of 24 foreigners in the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern and northeastern Japan, while several dozen others remain missing, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Monday.  $$$

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