(BBC) – An earthquake measuring 6.3 in magnitude has hit New Zealand’s South Island, hours after at least two people were killed by an initial quake.
The new tremor struck about 13:45 p.m. local time (7:45 a.m. in Thailand) at a depth of 10km (6 miles), northeast of Christchurch.
A 7.5-magnitude quake, with the same depth, had hit the same area just after midnight, triggering tsunami warnings.
Authorities are rescuing and evacuating residents along the east coast.
There have been hundreds of strong aftershocks, causing power shortages and cuts in water supply.
GeoNet, a government-funded project monitoring earthquakes, said the first earthquake was actually two related tremors, and that aftershocks would continue over the next few weeks and months.
New Zealand media reported that a 100-year-old woman and her daughter-in-law were pulled out alive from their home in the town of Kaikoura, after the house collapsed in the aftermath of the first earthquake. The younger woman’s husband died.
A woman also died at Mount Lyford, southwest of Kaikoura, though there are reports she may have died from an existing medical condition.
Waves of around 2m (6.6ft) hit the coast shortly after the first earthquake. Authorities have since lifted the tsunami alert but are still warning people to stay away from the shoreline.
In Christchurch, memories of a devastating 6.3-magnitude earthquake in 2011 are still fresh for many. That quake killed 185 people and injured thousands, and reduced swathes of the city’s historic area to rubble.
Top: Photos taken from a NZDF helicopter show massive rockfalls in several areas in the upper South Island. Photo: Stuff.co.nz
Inset: A maps image shows the location of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake just north of Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo: CNN