Excerpt from (CBS/AP) WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Sept. 4, 2010

“”An Absolute Miracle” No Deaths From 7.1-Mag Earthquake; Reports of People Trapped in Rubble; 2 Injuries

Chimneys and walls crumbled to the ground, roads cracked in half and residents were knocked off their feet as a powerful magnitude-7.1 earthquake rocked New Zealand’s South Island early Saturday. The prime minister said it was a miracle no one was killed.

Only two serious injuries were reported from the quake, which shook thousands of people awake when it struck at 4:35 a.m. near the southern city of Christchurch. There were reports of some people trapped inside damaged buildings – though none appeared to be crushed by rubble…

… Experts said the low number of injuries reflects the country’s strict building codes.

“New Zealand has very good building codes … (that) mean the buildings are strong compared with, say, Haiti,” which suffered widespread damage in a magnitude-7.0 quake this year, earth sciences professor Martha Savage said.

“It’s about the same size (quake) as Haiti, but the damage is so much less. Though chimneys and some older facades came down, the structures are well built,” said Savage, a professor at the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University in the capital, Wellington.

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Strict building codes provide us safety when we need it most. Building codes are adjusted on a continuous basis to ensure safe buildings. The technology is normally invisible but invaluable at times just like these!