New Zealand earthquake: two dead as tsunami threat passes

Damage on a Wellington street after the quake.

Wellington city workers told to stay at home

It is now 9am in New Zealand and the full impact of the overnight 7.5 magnitude earthquake is beginning to be understood. Power is out and phone lines are still down in some areas and roads have cracked and sunk by up to half a metre, restricting access by emergency services.

The small North Canterbury township of Waiau is feared to be worst hit along with Kaikoura, the scene of one of the casualties. Paramedics are being flown by helicopter to Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura, where a command unit is being established.

New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, has suffered some damage with workers in the city centre told to stay home. Ships and ferries are waiting in the harbour until authorities can assess the damage to wharves before they dock, which is expected to be in the mid-afternoon.

Wellington City Council posted an update stating that it was likely not all buildings would be able to be made safe and there was a risk the forecast winds of up to 140kmh could bring glass and other materials into the streets.

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