We woke to a loud noise and the house shaking at about 4.40 this morning – and it’s official:
GeoNet’s recording from Rata Peaks near Ashburton at 5.15:
Wanaka about 15 minutes earlier:
The BBC broadcast the news almost immediately, by 5am Radio New Zealand National was reporting it was centred west of Christchurch, the power was off in the city and there was damage to a road.
At 7.4 on the Richter Scale it’s the biggest earthquake I’ve ever felt but a quick look showed nothing amiss.
Friends just south of Ashburton reported pictures falling off their walls but no major damage.
The quake has been downgraded to The initial quake ws followed by a second one measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale.
RadioNZ National which is doing an earthquake special is just broadcasting Christchurch mayor Bob Parker declaring a state of emergency in the city.
So far just two reports of serious injuries to people but there is massive damage to buildings and infrastructure including water and sewerage pipes.
Cellphone towers are being powered by batteries which are likely to run out soon which may affect coverage well beyond Canterbury.
Shamefully there are also reports of looting.
The Press has news and photos.
In disaster there is always humour. Quote of the quake from Keeping Stock:
So the rumour that God had invested in South Canterbury Finance must be true.
The epicentre was near Darfield. John Key has just told TV3 that the house of Selwyn MP Amy Adams who lives near there has been wrecked.
With the power off there’s an urgent need for generators to ensure cows can be milked and some dairy sheds have been damaged.