Wellington (dpa) – A massive 7.4 earthquake hit the New Zealand
city of Christchurch early Saturday, causing widespread damage and
cutting power and water supplies.
Many buildings were reported flattened and roads blocked by
falling debris from the quake, which was centred 30 kilometres west
of the South Island’s biggest city, at a depth of 33 kilometres.
Emergency services were flooded with calls and police urged
residents not to use mobile phones and to stay indoors as more
aftershocks were expected.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, Radio New Zealand
The quake struck at 4:35 am (1635 GMT) and the extent of the
damage was not likely to be confirmed until daybreak.
Christchurch International Airport was closed and the South Island
rail network was shut down pending inspections for damage.
The quake was felt widely across South Island and in the capital
Wellington, which lies at the southern tip of the North Island.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported
that it had detected no tsunami in the wake of the temblor, but
warned that earthquakes of this magnitude can be destructive along
coasts near the earthquake’s epicentre.