Two dead as huge quake causes ‘ut­ter dev­as­ta­tion’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A POW­ER­FUL 7.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake killed two peo­ple and caused “ut­ter dev­as­ta­tion” in New Zealand yes­ter­day, with wild weather ham­per­ing res­cue ef­forts.

The tremor, one of the most pow­er­ful ever recorded in the quake-prone South Pa­cific na­tion, hit just after mid­night near the South Is­land sea­side tourist town of Kaik­oura.

It trig­gered a tsunami alert that sent thou­sands of coastal res­i­dents flee­ing for higher ground across much of the coun­try.

Kaik­oura, a town of about 2000 peo­ple pop­u­lar with in­ter­na­tional back­pack­ers, was com­pletely iso­lated, with telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions down and huge land­slides cut­ting all ac­cess roads.

Civil De­fence Min­is­ter Gerry Brown­lee said res­cuers had to travel in by he­li­copter to slowly build up a clear pic­ture of the dam­age.

Mr Brown­lee and Prime Min­is­ter John Key flew over the af­fected area in a mil­i­tary he­li­copter.

“It’s just ut­ter dev­as­ta­tion ... months of (re­pair) work,” Mr Key re­marked as he sur­veyed the land­slips that dumped hun­dreds of tonnes of rocky de­bris on the main high­way.

Aerial footage out­side Kaik­oura showed rail­way tracks ripped up and tossed 10 me­tres (30 foot) by the force of the quake, while lo­cals posted pic­tures of them­selves near huge fis­sures

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