CHRISTCHURCH (AFP, REUTERS) – New Zealand has issued a tsunami warning for southern coastal areas after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 struck 91km north-north-east of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, at 11.02 GMT on Sunday (Nov 13), knocking out power in some areas and sending people into the streets of the capital Wellington.
“A tsunami is possible,” the national civil defence organisation, which is in charge of New Zealand’s emergency management, said in a bulletin. “The first wave activity may not be the most significant,” it said, adding tsumanmi activity would continue for several hours.
It said on its website that the National Crisis Management Centre is being activated.
“We are assessing the situation with the assistance of scientific advisers and Civil Defence groups. Expect aftershocks,” the statement said.
The shallow tremor hit just after 11pm local time (1000 GMT), some 90km from the South Island city of Christchurch, according to the agency.
Tamsin Edensor, a mother of two in Christchurch, said the shaking lasted a “long” time.
“We were asleep and woken to the house shaking, it kept going and going and felt like it was going to build up,” she told AFP.
She said there was no sign of damage on her street and the power was still on, adding that she was worried about towns and villages closer to the epicentre.
“We’re getting aftershocks at the moment. We’re going to stock up on water supplies just in case.”
Christchurch is the biggest city on New Zealand’s South Island. A 6.3 quake there in February 2011 killed 185 people and caused widespread damage.