News World Two dead, Clarence River threat after massive quake rocks NZ
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Two dead, Clarence River threat after massive quake rocks NZ

New Zealand earthquake
State Highway 1 between Christchurch and Kaikoura after the earthquake. Photo: Twitter/Daniel Bullen
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Two people are dead and many injured and missing after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake jolted New Zealand’s South Island.

One of the deaths was from a collapsed house in the now completely isolated coastal town of Kaikoura, while the second was a result of a heart attack subsequent to the quake.

Aftershocks have rumbed through the night – more than 800 of them as at 6am – and they are likely to continue for a considerable amount of time.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has surveyed the damage and spoke of the “utter devastation”.

He estimates the clean-up will run into hundreds of millions of dollars and clearing blocked roads could take months.

He’s told a New Zealand Herald Parliamentary reporter he missed a call from US President–elect Donald Trump while he was out and about yesterday, although he managed to speak to Malcolm Turnbull. Parliament will open this afternoon with an expected statement on the impact of the quake.

Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island is cut off, with reports emerging of casualties and cars lying on their sides. Hundreds of tourists are among those trapped there, and some have not been able to tell loved ones if they’re safe.

Newshub aerial footage of isolated areas discovered this amazing footage of cows stranded on land that fell away:

Defence force personnel were planning to take food, water and other supplies to the small coastal town on Tuesday. HMS Canterbury is making its way up the coast, but it could be days before access is opened. The Chinese Government has chartered a helicopter to get its nations out.

The main road to Kaikoura is blocked in places by landslides, and police were working to airlift out a few tourists stranded in their campervans to the north and south of the town, according to emergency services officials in the nearby Marlborough region.

Meanwhile, a wall of water is sweeping down New Zealand’s Clarence River after breaking through earthquake debris that had slipped into the river.

Marlborough Borough Council has urged residents to move to higher ground immediately.

Sixteen rafters who were on the flooded river have been located by police.

The water had been banking up behind the slip, about 10 to 12km up from the mouth, and broke through about 4.20pm.

Earlier, two large aftershocks including one measuring 6.3 struck towns already cut off by the larger quake.

A severe magnitude 5.7 quake struck 20km east of Seddon at 1.34pm (local time) on Monday, shaking Wellington, and several smaller South Island towns that felt the worst of the main tremor.

That earthquake was almost instantly followed by a magnitude 6.3, 30km north of Cheviot, a small town in North Canterbury.

The overnight quake, located 20km south east of Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury at a depth of 16km, struck just after midnight local time on Monday.

The quake triggered warnings of a 2m-high tsunami, leading to thousands of evacuations, with residents in Wellington being advised to avoid the CBD and people in many other areas being told to stay away from beaches and low-lying areas.

City workers in Wellington are unable to go to work on Monday until building owners have checked for damage. All public transport is cancelled while rail tracks, bridges and tunnels are checked.

Tourists and apartment–dwellers in the Wellington CBD were out on the streets after the shake in the early hours of the morning.

The NZ Government’s GeoNet website reported it as severe and it was felt throughout the country, as far north as Auckland, and down to the Chatham Islands.

Seismologists say this is the largest quake seen in New Zealand since 2009, larger even than the February 2011 earthquake which claimed almost 190 lives.

New Zealand earthquake
People sleeping in the Parliament building, The Beehive, in Wellington, after being evacuated. Photo: Twitter.

Geonet’s John Ristau told 1 News that aftershocks will continue for a long time.

Communications have been cut, power lines are down, roads are impassible because of slips and cracks and trains have been cancelled. Thousands of people from coastal areas were evacuated in the early hours of the morning.

CCTV footage showing the carnage in a golf shop

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has phoned his New Zealand counterpart to offer support after the deadly quake.

Mr Turnbull said even John Key’s office in Wellington was shaken by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

“He knows that we support the Kiwis and they support us when it comes to emergencies and natural disasters,” he told the Seven Network on Monday.

The Ministry of Education said all schools from Wellington to North Canterbury would be closed on Monday while buildings are checked. NCEA exams were scheduled to take place on Monday. Massey University has postponed exams due to take place at its Manawatu and Wellington campuses.

All Cook Strait ferries have been cancelled, with terminals at both the Wellington and Picton ends damaged.

Parliament has been damaged but it’s not clear to what extent, and the TSB Arena on Wellington’s waterfront has reportedly sustained the most damage. Wellington City Council posted on Facebook that there is widespread liquefaction on reclaimed and waterfront land.

Mr Key said all 16 Civil Defence regions in the country have been activated.

By dawn most tsunami warnings were downgraded, but the area from Picton to Banks Peninsula, and the whole of the Chatham Islands, was still under threat.

The 111 emergency call services were working and police reported responding to many callouts after midnight. St John Ambulance has activated its national emergency centre and relocated its headquarters to higher ground.

Civil Defence warned people to expect aftershocks, and a host above magnitude 5 were recorded with the biggest a 6.2 shake situated 15km north of Kaikoura.

Newshub reported that a chimney had collapsed at the Fiji High Commission in Wellington.

NZ earthquake
Cracks at Centre Port in Wellington. Photo: EPA/Ross Setford

Australian journalist Gemma Snowdon, who is living just north of Christchurch, told the ABC the quake woke her from her sleep.

“The extent of this quake was so much that it woke me up out of my sleep and I thought someone in my house was moving furniture around or something,” she said.

“I ran outside with my housemates and we quickly realised what was going on and the ground just shook and shook and shook and it seemed never-ending.

“We were just sitting there wondering when it would stop.”

One man reported seeing cars “jumping up and down like yo–yos”.

A 6.3 quake in Christchurch in February 2011 killed 185 people and caused widespread damage.

This shake has been reported as very different to previous ones, with a deep, long, rolling feeling rather than sharp jolts.

NZ earthquake
Cracks at Centre Port in Wellington. Photo: EPA/Ross Setford
Stacked containers at Centre Port in Wellington after the 7.5 magnitude shake. Photo: EPA/Ross Setford
Amora Hotel guests gather in a car park in Wellington after being evacuated. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty
A tsunami warning alert notice on State Highway 1 in Wellington. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty
Glass and rubble covers the footpath on Wakefield St in Wellington. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty
A mannequin in Farmers department store in Wellington's central city. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty
Supermarkets in many centres face yet another huge clean-up job.
Residents wait in central Wellington after being evacuated from nearby buildings.
Residents of Hanmer Springs stocked up on bread on the morning after the quake.

-with agencies

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