New Zealand Earthquake 2010 Sept 4: 7.0 Magnitude (Map) (Photos)
An Earthquake Has Struck New Zealand, Located About 30 km From Christchurch - State of Emergency Delcared
The United States Geological Survey has recorded the earthquake at a 7.0 on the Richter Scale; it was originally recorded to be a 7.2, but has since been downgraded. This is one of the biggest earthquakes in the country's recorded history.
An aftershock that measured 5.7 followed about 20 minutes after the first quake, and some sources states the aftershocks are still ongoing.
According to early reports from The Press in New Zealand, the earthquake has wiped out much of the power across Christchurch and Canterbury. The rail network on the South Island has closed down while it is inspected for damage.
Power is expected to be off in Christchurch for most of the day, and officials are concerned that soon the cellphone towers could fail as they are currently running on batteries. If they fail there will be no communication links.
The earthquake did not prompt any tsunami warnings as it was inland, and no one has been reported to have been killed but there are those with minor injuries and two with serious injuries.
There have been many reports of damage to buildings and property, including power lines down and some buildings have been compromised. Some people are still trapped in their homes.
Colleen Simpson said everyone was out in the street in their pyjamas looking scared and worried. There was no power and the mobile network was failing.
"Oh my God. There is a row of shops completely demolished right in front of me," she said.
The Press is also reporting that Litchfield St. has experienced partial blockage due to damage, and cars are damaged in Madras St along with bridges in Brighton and South Brighton.
Stuff.co.nz is reporting that most of Christchurch has been closed down by police due to the amount of rubble in the streets. Some water and sewage pipes have burst and there is some substantial flooding in certain areas of the city. About 1,000 people may be evacuated from Christchurch's seaside's suburbs due to the flooding if the situation worsens.
Major bridges and transport routes are not damaged, although many minor bridges are. People are being asked not to drive anywhere unless absolutely necessary. The Emergency co-ordination centers in Selwyn, Timaru, Waimakariri and Hurunui districts have been activated and officials have asked residents in those areas not to use their cell phones unless it is an emergency.
Stuff reports that at least 10 people have been rescued from holes in the ground so far, and one person was trapped in a pit on River Road for quite some time before they could get to them.
Christchurch Airport is closed until 10am Sunday morning at least.
A man who was at the international airport in Christchurch described the scene.
"The entire terminal started shaking," he said. "I knew it was an earthquake.There was not much you could do at that point."
It struck around 4:35am on Saturday September 4, and was felt throughout much of the South Island.
The earthquake was recorded at a depth of 16.1 km, about 298 km southwest of Wellington.
Everyone is being asked to remain clam and do not go to the hospital unless you are seriously injured. If you have minor injuries please go to the 24 Hour After Hours Surgery in Bealey Ave and Moorhouse Medical Centre.
Some photos from Twitter: