A severe earthquake with a 5.7 magnitude has hit Christchurch.
The earthquake took place just shortly after 1pm local time (11am AEDT) and has even been felt by those in Wellington.
According to reports by AAP, the earthquake was centred 15km east of Christchurch and was 31km deep with a severe rating by GeoNet which monitors geological hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and landslides in New Zealand.
The highest level of impact was felt in central and eastern Christchurch.
While there have been no reports of serious injuries, it has led to a cliff collapse in Sumner and numerous building evacuations including The Press building on Gloucester St.
Community organisation St John has also activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Christchurch saying that they had received a number of calls relating to “people with minor injuries from falls as they were running”.
The National Crisis Management Centre has maintained that there isn’t a threat of a tsunami following the earthquake but has warned people to stay out of damaged areas and to expect aftershocks.
According to GeoNet, there have already been 28 aftershocks with the largest being a 3.6 magnitude quake which took place 10 km east of Christchurch with a depth of 10km.
Air New Zealand says that flights “in and out of Christchurch are operating as normal with minimal delays” with more information on flights here.
Due to the geology of New Zealand and its location on the boundary of the Australian Plate and Pacific Plates, the country has been prone to earthquakes and other volcanic activity over the past years.
In February 2011, Christchurch was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 earthquake killing 185 people as well as injuring several thousand people. The earthquake was seen to be an aftershock of an earthquake six months earlier in September 2010 which did not result in any deaths.
Earlier this month, New Zealand’s capital city Wellington also faced a 5.7 magnitude earthquake but there were no reports of injury.
Paramedics are currently responding to the scene.
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