Image: Map locates epicenter of a strong earthquake which rattled New Zealand
After-shocks continue to shake the Gisborne area on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake flattened buildings in the centre of the town last night. An apartment block and two shops collapsed, several roofs caved in, winery vats burst and gaping holes opened in roads. A state of emergency was declared this morning, as another tremor hit at 6.47am today, registering 4.5 on the Richter scale. The after-shocks are expected to last for some time, although most will be “minor”. “It’s hard to say exactly how long they’ll go on for, but we’ll be recording them for weeks. Most will be small, and especially as it’s off-shore, most won’t be felt.” The quake was more powerful than the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake. The last fatal earthquake in the country was in 1968 when a quake measuring 7.1 killed three people on the South Island’s west coast.
Massive Quake causes Gisborne chaos Reports of attempted looting are emerging this morning as Gisborne retailers return to their shops to survey the widespread damage from the 6.8 magnitude earthquake. Gisborne's mayor urged residents to head for the hills if another earthquake struck the region amid tsunami fears after the initial quake. He said because the 6.8 magnitude earthquake was centred close to shore, south east of the city, there was no tsunami warning system. Residents said the quake arrived with an "enormous roar". "It sounded like thunder, but a lot worse because it was a constant roar."
Image Above: SMASHED: Gisborne Pak n Save owner Hamish Walton surveys the ruins of his wine selection after a destructive earthquake.