7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand and at least two people were killed.
According to the foreign press, BBC England, an earthquake occurred around 12:02 AM(local time) on November 14 in the northeastern area of Christchurch. Aftershocks reverberated all the way to Wellington, the capital of the North Island 200 km away. 2 hours after the earthquake, a tsunami hit the coast causing thousands of people to go inland or to higher ground.
Local police said one person had died in Kaikoura of South Island located in the eastern sea. There were fissures in the roads and blackouts throughout the area. Telecommunications were also down. The other victim was found dead at Mount Lyford, a nearby ski resort. Although the death toll is reported at 2, the official number has yet to be confirmed. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said “we obviously can’t rule out the possibility that the number of deaths can rise.”
New Zealand weather information website, ‘Weather Watch,’ reported a 2.5 meter-high tsunami in Kaikoura, 11 kilometers away from the epicenter, the northern area of Christchurch on the morning of the 14. Authorities warned that the tsunami waves would swell up to 5 meters. Fortunately, after 8 am the tsunami waves had lowered to around 1 meter high and the warning level was reverted from high alert status.
Even after the 7.8-magnitude powerful earthquake has passed, aftershocks are still continuing on into the morning. The officials at some schools and companies decided to keep the buildings closed until safety inspections can be made and ships and trains have ceased for the time being. In Kaikoura, a popular tourist attraction, there were collapsed buildings and landslides that occurred.
New Zealand is regularly hit by earthquakes. It is because the country lies at the end of the notorious ‘Ring of Fire’. The ‘Ring of Fire’ is a horseshoe-shaped belt of volcanoes around the ocean’s edges where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions frequently occur. In February 2011, there was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed 185 people and devastated the entire city.