The New Zealand Prime Minister has confirmed two people are dead after a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the country’s south Island on Monday morning.
The tremor struck at a depth of 15km in Canterbury just after midnight and the region has been rattled by a series of aftershocks since, the biggest being 6.2.
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management warned a destructive tsunami was possible and urged those in eastern parts of the country in low lying areas or near the coast urged to move.
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The tsunami warning remains in place but has since been downgraded.
Prime Minister John Key said two people were confirmed fatalities after the quake but it was not yet clear if they were as a direct result of the tremor.
There are been over 250 calls to emergency services overnight.
It’s understood at least one person was trapped in collapsed building in Kaikoura and another in Mount Lyford and search and rescue teams are on the way.
The amount of damage remains unclear at this stage and won’t really be known until daylight.
The national crisis management centre had been activated but a national state of emergency had not been declared.