A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island early Monday, killing at least two people. The earthquake damaged multiple buildings, and prompted emergency services to warn people along the coast to move to higher ground to avoid tsunami waves.
The quake struck 55 miles northeast of the city of Christchurch just after midnight local time on Monday. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that it triggered waves of 2.49 meters above usual tide levels. Residents said the shaking went of for about three minutes, and was followed by a number of strong aftershocks.
Police said one person died in the small coastal town of Kaikoura and another in Mt. Lyford, a nearby ski resort. Authorities have no reason to believe the death toll will rise above the two reported fatalities. A national emergency has not been declared as the nation’s regions are able to handle the situation.
–Header Image: Steve Donaldson