An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hit the east
coast off New Zealand's North Island on Thursday evening, according
to the New Zealand earthquake monitoring system.
So far, no tsunami warning has been issued by the Hawaii-based
Pacific Tsunamic Warning Center.
The quake was centered 40 km below the ocean, 50 km southeast of
Gisborne and 400 km southeast of Auckland at 20:55 local time (
07:55 GMT). The quake was felt in Wellington and as far south as
Christchurch in the South Island.
In the North Island of Giboren, police said they have no reports
of any injuries so far, but the town was in a state of chaos. The
main street of Gisborne was shut, as the roofs of several large
buildings have collapsed, and one of the main roads into the city
has a huge hole in it, the NewtalkZB, a Wellington- based radio
Off duty police have been called into work and Civil Defense
staff were at the scene. Local police were asking everyone not to
drive and to return to their homes.
Power in Gisborne was now back on, after Gisborne was plunged
into darkness for almost 40 minutes after the quake.
A central police communications spokesman said "the quake has
caused quite a lot of damage in the Gisborne area."
Civil defense had been activated and they were carrying out
The National Crisis Center has been activated, a spokeswoman
from Civil Defense said.
The US Geological Survey said the quake was measuring at 6.6 on
the Richter scale.
(Xinhua News Agency December 21, 2007)