At least two people are dead after a powerful earthquake hit New Zealand early Monday morning.
The 7.8 magnitude quake struck just after midnight on the South Island at the coastal town of Kaikoura, a popular tourist destination. Hundreds of tourists were forced out into the streets as hotels were evacuated.
— USGS (@USGS) November 13, 2016
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 14, 2016
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is travelling to the epicenter to survey the damage.
Shortly after the quake hit tsunami warnings were issued. A tsunami wave hit at 1:50am local time and residents in low-lying areas on the east coast were told to get to higher ground. The tsunami warnings have since been downgraded.
The quake was centered 214 km south of Wellington. City officials say some large buildings were showing signs of structural stress. Roads have been heavily damaged and landslides have been triggered.
This video of three cows has been widely shared on social media. They were left stranded on a small island of grass on land ripped apart by the quake.
Two cows and a calf have been cut off by the New Zealand earthquake after the ground around them gave way pic.twitter.com/aGiPW6WID1
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 14, 2016
The quake brought back memories of the less powerful, but more damaging quake that hit Christchurch in 2011, destroying much of the downtown area and killing 185 people. That quake was one of New Zealand’s worst disasters, causing an estimated $25 billion in damage.