A magnitude 7.0 tremor caused widespread damage in the country's second largest city of Christchurch in the early hours of Saturday morning local time.
Earthquake rocks Christchurch in New Zealand
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked New Zealand's second largest city of Christchurch in the early hours of Saturday morning local time, causing widespread damage including the collapse of some buildings and power outages, witnesses and the US Geological Survey said. The quake struck at a depth of 10 some 19 miles northwest of Christchurch at 4:05 a.m. local time Saturday, the USGS said. There was no major tsunami warning. Aftershocks were ongoing and damage widespread in Christchurch, local newspaper The Post reported, while there appeared to be a power outage throughout the city of about 340,000. Local resident Colleen Simpson said that many people had run out onto the streets in fear, while the mobile phone network was failing, according to the paper. "Oh my God. There is a row of shops completely demolished right in front of me," Simpson said. Kevin O'Hanlon, from Mairehau in Christchurch, said: "Just unbelievable. I was awake to go to work and then just heard this massive noise and, boom, it was like the house got hit. It just started shaking. I've never felt anything like it," the newspaper reported. The damage included structural harm to houses, broken glass and damaged bridges and vehicles, the Post said. Civil defence staff were deciding whether to activate the national crisis center, Radio New Zealand reported. * AFP