Earthquake Hits Near New Zealand’s Capital After Cycloon Kills Four
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WELLINGTON (Worthy News) – New Zealand authorities confirm that a 6.1 magnitude struck near the capital Wellington after four people, including a child, were killed as ex-Cyclone Gabrielle moved away.
The government seismic monitor Geonet reported that the earthquake hit close to Wellington and said its epicenter was 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the town of Paraparaumu at a depth of 48 kilometers (157,200 feet).
It described the quake as “strong” after it struck the islands with a jolt – followed by 30 seconds of moderate shaking. New Zealand’s Civil Defence agency said: “A big shake there!” There were no immediate reports of damage, and no tsunami warning has been issued.
Yet residents reported feeling the ground shaking for 10 to 20 seconds and compared it to a convoy of giant trucks rolling by.
Chief political reporter Aaron Dahmen from Newstalk ZB radio was caught up in the chaos and said his whole house in Wellington shook aggressively after he felt a ‘big bump.’
It came as his network was still recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle, causing several transmitter outages on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. “We’re working to restore our coverage in the area as soon as possible,” it told listeners in Hawke’s Bay as it advised them to listen to its backup fm frequency.
At least two people were confirmed dead in Hawke’s Bay, and residents in hard-hit areas were asked to conserve water and food.
Police also said a child’s body was found in the nearby rural settlement of Eskdale.
New Zealand’s Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty said another body was found at the site in Muriwai, a beach community near Auckland.
Volunteer firefighter Dave van Zwanenberg went missing on Sunday night following a landslide. “In the search for the missing firefighter, a body has been located,” he said during an update on the country’s ongoing recovery from the weather event.
“It is yet to be identified, nevertheless our deepest condolences to the family, community, and of course to all volunteers and emergency services.”
Several towns were cut off as roads were closed and houses were left underwater, witnesses said, with authorities struggling to bring back a sense of normality to New Zealand.
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