A powerful earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island early Monday, killing at least two people, causing damage to buildings and infrastructure, and prompting emergency services to warn people along the coast to move to higher ground to avoid tsunami waves. The magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck just after midnight in a mostly rural area that’s dotted with small towns. Near the epicenter, it opened up snaking fissures in roads and triggered landslides.
It caused damage in Wellington, the capital, more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) to the north and was also strongly felt in the city of Christchurch to the south. Residents said the shaking went on for about three minutes, and was followed by a number of strong aftershocks. FULL REPORT