Wah, I am pretty outdated since I only found out that there was an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. I have some friends studying in New Zealand, and I know few of them are in Christchurch. I just pray and hope that they are not affected by the disaster.
Powerful 7.1 quake hits New Zealand's South Island
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake damaged buildings, cut power and knocked fleeing residents off their feet on New Zealand's South Island early Saturday, but there were so far no deaths and only two injuries reported.
Panicked residents in their pajamas ran into the streets of the southern city of Christchurch after the pre-dawn quake, residents said. There were reports of some people trapped in damaged buildings - though none appeared to be crushed by rubble - and a few looters broke into some of the damaged shops in the city of 400,000, authorities said.
Chimneys and walls had fallen from older buildings, roads had been blocked, traffic lights out and power, gas and water supplies disrupted, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said. He warned that continuing aftershocks could cause masonry to fall from damaged buildings.
A car damaged by rubble from a building is seen following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in central Christchurch, New Zealand, early Saturday.-AP
"The fronts of at least five buildings in the central city have collapsed, and rubble is strewn across many roads," Christchurch resident Angela Morgan told The Associated Press. "There is quite significant damage, really, with reports that some people were trapped in damaged houses."
Suburban dweller Mark O'Connell said his house was full of smashed glass, food tossed from shelves, with sets of drawers, TVs and computers tipped over.
"We were thrown from wall to wall as we tried to escape down the stairs to get to safety," he told the AP.
People stand outside a building damaged by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in central Christchurch, New Zealand, early Saturday.-AP
The quake, which hit 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of Christchurch according to the state geological agency GNS Science, shook a wide area, with some residents saying buildings had collapsed and power was severed. No tsunami alert was issued.
GNS Science initially reported the quake as magnitude 7.4, but later downgraded it after re-examining quake records. The U.S. Geological Survey, in America, measured the quake at 7.0.
Army troops were on standby to assist, Minister of Civil Defense John Carter said, as a state of civil emergency was declared.