New Zealand Suffers Major Earthquake, Many Afterschocks

Meghan Koerick, Staff Reporter

New Zealand suffered a big earthquake on Sunday November 13th. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Christchurch in New Zealand around midnight on Sunday. That was followed by a 6.3 magnitude above Christchurch. An aftershock measured as a 5.8 magnitude then hit the Kaikoura region. A two meter high tsunami also hit the coast of the South Island.

The prime minister of New Zealand announced there was at least two deaths because of the quake and related events that took place.

There were close to 800 aftershocks in New Zealand since 12am Sunday. The initial tremor caused the roads to fracture and buildings to fall to the ground. The tremors ripped up a state highway and also caused the Clarence River to be dammed up before the barrier broke and caused water to dangerously flow downstream. A mountainside also collapsed near Kaikoura where it buried a road. An entire seabed was even raised out of the ground.

According to Daily Mail, Geonet was monitoring the earthquake and said that there was a 12 percent chance there was going to be another and in fact there was. Thousands of people are now missing but still only two confirmed deaths. According to CNN, Helicopters are being sent to air lift trapped citizens in the Hurunui and Kaikoura districts.

Kaikoura which is the epicenter, the point on the earth’s surface vertically above the focus of an earthquake, is now cut off from the rest of the country. The Prime minister announced that they are working on evacuating people and the US Navy volunteered to help ferry people out aboard two helicopters on the USS Sampson. People are providing Kaikoura and other places that need assistance with water, food and other relief supplies and organizing how to get them there.

There have been at least 80,000 landslides in New Zealand but in some places communication and power is back.

Auckland’s sky tower was illuminated black and white as a sign of solidarity after the devastating earthquakes.  Prime Minister Key also missed a call from President Elect Donald Trump who was sending his condolences and to discuss US-New Zealand relations.