A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand's South Island just after 6 a.m. ET on Sunday
13 Novembre, 2016, 23:47
WELLINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - A powerful 7.8 magnitude quake and a series of aftershocks shook New Zealand in the early hours of Monday, generating a tsunami and sending thousands of people fleeing for higher ground.
The magnitude-7.8 quake struck in a mostly rural area close to the city of Christchurch but appeared to be more strongly felt in the capital, Wellington, more than 120 miles away on the North Island.
It is being followed by many aftershocks, the largest of them a magnitude of 6.2.
The quake also took place 86km from the town of Christchurch which was struck by a powerful natural disaster back in 2011. It said the quake struck at a depth of 23 kilometres (14 miles), after initially putting the depth at 10 kilometres (6 miles).
Residents in Wellington said glass had fallen from buildings into the streets and hotels and apartment buildings had been evacuated.
The local Fire Department is dealing with emergency calls in the town of Christchurch, New Zealand, following the quake but, as yet, officials say there are no reports of serious damage, injuries or fatalities.
A powerful 7.8 magnitude quake rocked New Zealand early Monday, the US Geological Survey said, prompting a tsunami warning and knocking out power and phone services in many parts of the country.
The ministry had earlier sent out a message on Twitter saying there was no tsunami threat.
The authority tweeted: "Situation has changed - tsunami is possible".
The island nation of New Zealand in the South Pacific has been hit by a string of large earthquakes in the past few hours, Russia Today reports.
He said there were reports of quite a lot damage on the top floors of taller buildings, as well as to bridges and highways.
Christchurch is still recovering from the 2011 quake that killed 185 people and destroyed the city centre. Monday's quake was centered farther away from Christchurch than the one in 2011, which caused an estimated $25 billion in damage.
New Zealand police said they are "responding to many calls in relation to the natural disaster".
Tamsin Edensor, a mother of two in Christchurch, said the shaking lasted a "long" time.
"We're getting aftershocks at the moment".
Twitter users are reporting major tremors in the New Zealand capital of Wellington.
"Some of the boys were in prayer, some were watching the India-England Test on TV when we felt the windows shake", team manager Wasim Bari told ESPNcricinfo.
New Zealand is regularly hit by earthquakes as it sits in a "collision zone" between the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates.