Powerful 7.1 quake hits New Zealand's South Island

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 4, 2010 04:53






WELLINGTON, New Zealand  — A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake damaged buildings, cut power and knocked fleeing residents off their feet on New Zealand's South Island early Saturday, but there were so far no deaths and only two injuries reported.




Panicked residents in their pajamas ran into the streets of the southern city of Christchurch after the pre-dawn quake, residents said. There were reports of some people trapped in damaged buildings — though none appeared to be crushed by rubble — and a few looters broke into some of the damaged shops in the city of 400,000, authorities said.




Chimneys and walls had fallen from older buildings, roads had been blocked, traffic lights out and power, gas and water supplies disrupted, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said. He warned that continuing aftershocks could cause masonry to fall from damaged buildings.



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