WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- New Zealand warned a "destructive tsunami" is possible for the country's east coast after a strong 7.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the South Island.
The earthquake struck early Monday, about 2 a.m. local time, just outside Christchurch, the biggest city on South Island, the U.S. Geological Survey said. New Zealand's civil defense urged residents to move inland and seek higher ground.
"The first wave may not be the largest. Waves may continue for several hours," New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said on Twitter.
In 2011, Churchchrist, home to about 400,000 people, was devastated by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that left nearly 200 people dead.