CHRIST CHURCH: A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake has jolted New Zealand’s South Island.
According to US Geological Survey, magnitude of the quake was 7.8on Richter scale.
The epicenter of the quake was some 95km (59 miles) from Christchurch.
The ministry of civil defence has warned people on the east coast of the South Island to move to higher ground in case of tsunamis.
Christchurch is still recovering from the 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed the city centre. New Zealand lies on the notorious Ring of Fire, the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.
The tremor was felt all the way to Wellington, where sirens sounded and people fled buildings into the streets, some of them crying. Early reports suggest some houses in Cheviot town, near the epicenter, have been damaged.