At least two dead after powerful earthquake in New Zealand

At least two people have died after a powerful earthquake struck New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key has said.

Mr Key did not provide any further details at a news conference on Monday morning in the capital Wellington.

Authorities said they were not yet declaring a national emergency, saying the regions are coping well.

The magnitude-7.8 quake struck just after midnight 132 miles south of Wellington, where it collapsed a ferry loading ramp, broke windows and caused items to fall from shelves.

Authorities later downgraded tsunami warnings around the country following the quake.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management reported that a tsunami wave struck at about 1:50am and warned residents living in low-lying areas anywhere along the country’s east coast to move to higher ground.

Prime Minister John Key said at a news conference later that the tsunami warnings were being downgraded to coastal warnings.


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