In New Zealand dawn brought the true extent of the damage caused by the earthquake which struck Christchurch in the early hours of the morning.
Authorities declared a civil defence state of emergency to coordinate the recovery operation. There have been no deaths though two people suffered serious injuries. Many residents were visibly shaken by the force.
“The whole building felt as if it was going to fall over sideways and it was shaking back and forwards as if it had been hit by something,” explained one resident, another added, “Oh my gosh, that quake lasted probably over a minute. We have no power we have got no water.”
The quake struck 30 kilometres west of the country’s second largest city measuring seven point one on the Richter scale.
As roofs caved in blocking streets and crushing cars police closed the central business area while a number of smaller tremors hit the city. People, shocked by the force of the initial quake left their homes.
There have been reports of looting in the city centre which police say have been contained as the authorities appealed for people to remain calm.
Its forty two years since an earthquake of this magnitude struck the area when three people were killed.