Some Christchurch residents 'flee' ahead of Moon Man prediction
Many Christchurch residents are taking advantage of a public holiday by leaving the earthquake-devastated city this weekend, with some also worried about predictions by "Moon Man" Ken Ring of another big earthquake on Sunday.
A one-off holiday was declared for the region by Prime Minister John Key for yesterday's memorial service, which was attended by thousands of people.
The timing of the day-off, which has encouraged many to leave the city for a long weekend regardless, adds an element of dubiousness to TV reports of fleeing Cantabrians (although the major channels have been more measured in their website reports; see links below).
Bookings at holiday spots in the region were heavy this weekend, and some accommodation providers said many people wanted to be away from the city on Sunday, The Press reported.
Scientists have criticised Mr Ring, who forecasts weather based on the phases of the moon, for scaring people with his prediction of an earthquake in Christchurch on or near March 20.
"People just want to be safe and they're a bit concerned about some of the predictions. They're very scared about what's going to happen," said Geraldine Farmyard Holiday Park manager Kerrie Biggs, who had turned away about 60 families wanting cabins.
Shirley resident Kay Heald was travelling to Twizel with her husband and daughter to stay with friends.
"I think the Moon Man has frightened me, and it's a good opportunity to just get out of town," she told the newspaper.
Aftershocks would continue to hit the region but nobody could predict exactly when an earthquake will strike, the Prime Minister's chief science adviser said earlier this week.
"Inevitably there will almost certainly be aftershocks of low magnitude in Canterbury on March 20th as there are today, tomorrow, and most days over the next two weeks," Sir Peter Gluckman said.