Powerful quake strikes NZ, triggers small tsunami
A powerful earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island early today, shaking residents awake, causing damage to buildings and prompting emergency services to warn people along the coast to move to higher ground to avoid tsunami waves.
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck just after midnight in a mostly rural area close to the city of Christchurch, but appeared to be more strongly felt in Wellington, the capital, more than 200 kilometers to the north. The quake was followed by a number of strong aftershocks.
The quake temporarily knocked out New Zealand’s emergency call number, 111, police reported.
It caused items to fall from shelves and windows to break in Wellington, and forced hundreds of tourists onto the streets as hotels were evacuated.