On Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 11:02 G.M.T. a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake disrupted travel to the nation of New Zealand. It struck some 59 miles north of the town of Christchurch. The quake created infrastructure damage on the Southern Island of New Zealand and also caused a series of tsunamis. Authorities quickly issued a warning urging people in coastal areas to seek high ground.
The island nation of New Zealand lies in the South Pacific to the west of Australia. Tidal waves over 16 feet in height are expected to arrive in the area between Malborough and Christchurch on the northeast edge of the Southern Island. Authorities have not yet calculated a death toll from these natural disasters, but the events today could prove catastrophic given the magnitude of the earthquake and the late hour of its arrival.
A smaller 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2011 caused thousands of injuries and resulted in 185 fatalities. The nation’s Civil Defense Department urged everyone on the eastern coast of New Zealand to remain on high ground and away from beaches and coastal areas. Concern exists that a series of large waves will strike during the next day. Preliminary photographs from New Zealand displayed cracked asphalt roadways, toppled grocery store shelves and people huddling together outside on city benches in the night. Tsunamis potentially causes more extensive damage than earthquakes and many of the cities in Eastern New Zealand lie along the coast. Residents should evacuate inland or seek elevated ground immediately.