New Zealand evacuating hundreds stranded after quake

Residents, tourists stranded in coastal town after powerful earthquake that killed 2, damaged infrastructure

New Zealand evacuating hundreds stranded after quake

World Bulletin / News Desk

New Zealand teams began evacuating Tuesday hundreds of people -- including tourists -- stranded in a coastal South Island town after a powerful earthquake cut off access to the eastern area.

Two people were killed after the magnitude 7.8 quake shook New Zealand shortly after midnight Monday, triggering a tsunami and resulting in damage to roads, ports and buildings.

The region has since been struck by around 800 aftershocks, according to the Stuff.co.nz news website.

Television New Zealand (TVNZ) reported that four Air Force NH90 helicopters were deployed Tuesday to evacuate tourists and residents from the town of Kaikoura.

Hundreds gathered to be briefed by authorities, who said that evacuation of tourists and the restoration of water were priority.

They expressed hope that a if clearance efforts went according to schedule, it would be possible for a convoy to leave Kaikoura through an inland route Saturday.

"Be assured there is a scheduled plan and people are working 24 hours," TVNZ quoted an official as saying.

According to New Zealand Defence Force, 5000 kilograms of aid supplies -- including food, water and hygiene products -- are at nearby Christchurch waiting for delivery to Kaikoura.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said that at least 12 patients in Kaikoura -- who suffered injuries such as broken hip, head injuries and laceration -- have been airlifted to Christchurch.

After Monday’s powerful temblor, some state highways in northern South Island and bridges in the Marlborough Region were closed after suffering damage.

Authorities had also advised people to avoid central Wellington in North Island for “at least the rest of the day” amid concerns that forecast high winds could send debris from damaged buildings flying.

Civil Defence announced train services were canceled Monday during inspections at bridges and tunnels across the region.

Bruce Pepperell, Wellington’s regional controller, was quoted as saying that several major buildings exhibited signs of structural stress, with upper stories having suffered the most damage.

New Zealand sits on the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

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Last Mod: 15 Kasım 2016, 08:31
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