World - - Nov 15,2016
An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit New Zealand last night, which has been followed by a number of strong aftershocks.
The south island experienced many tremors, including a 6.2 magnitude quake after the midnight earthquake that caused two casualties and damage to property. Many roads were vandalized as well.
The epicenter of the earthquake was around 91 km northeast of Christchurch in a small coastal area called Kaikoura. These earthquakes created waves that were 8 feet higher than the normal sea tides. This resulted in people fleeing towards higher grounds.
Prime Minister John Key surveyed the damaged areas and addressed people through a video assuring that the government will provide basic necessities like food, water and shelter to the people and keep the rescue work steady.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS), said that it has recorded 42 seismic events in the area during the last day. Severe weather with swift wind, up to 140 km per hour have been forecasted for the area. GeoNet, a government funded project to monitor earthquakes said that, the first earthquake was a combination of two continuous tremors and the aftershocks are expected to continue over the next few months.
Powerlines and telecommunications are down and tall buildings in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, have been evacuated. Kaikoura, which is a popular tourist destination with a population of roughly 3600 people, had its major roads halted and supplies of power and water being cut off. The military and fire department have dispatched their teams in the area and airlift operations are quite active. Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said, though casualties would remain low, but damage to infrastructure would be a cause of concern.
Christchurch has fresh memories of the 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and injured thousands. The magnitude of this earthquake is higher than the previous one, but it has not caused the same level of devastation.