New Zealand’s South Island has been hit by a powerful tremor.
The quake struck in the middle of the night with a magnitude of around 7.8.
Euronews correspondent Seamus Kearney is in Auckland, this is what he had to say:“The important figure to note here is the depth of the quake, because that will indicate how severe the damage or the casualties might be.
The experts here are saying the shallowness of the quake was about 15 kms. So we are still assessing, at the moment,the scale of the damage, as I say it’s the middle of the night.
The area that was actually the epicentre of the quake is about 20 kilometres east of the town called Hanmer Springs that is not a well built up area, it is actually remote, rural country.
The initial report said that power lines were knocked down, the phone system failed, people even talked about the emergency 111 number was actually out of action.
So it is very difficult for the authorities to get an assesment, a quick assesment of the casualties and the damage.
Already tonight we have photographs on the web showing damage in some of the areas close to the epicentre, not right at Cheviot, which is one of the towns affected, but we are getting reports there is severe damage, but I think we are going to have to wait until daylight in New Zealand to really get a really clear, full picture of what actually has happened.’‘