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Dozens of aftershocks hit New Zealand; two dead in earthquake

By Andrew V. Pestano
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake and dozens of aftershocks caused a landslide, damaging a road in New Zealand. At least two people have died in the temblors. Photo courtesy of New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake and dozens of aftershocks caused a landslide, damaging a road in New Zealand. At least two people have died in the temblors. Photo courtesy of New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Dozens of strong aftershocks rattled New Zealand on Monday in the hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed at least two people, emergency officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said at least two aftershocks measured at magnitude-6.5 since the initial temblor struck Monday at 12:02 a.m.

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At least 42 aftershocks measuring at magnitude-2.5 or greater have occurred. Some aftershocks have been powerful enough to knock out power and water access to some communities.

The first earthquake killed one person in the town of Kaikoura when a home collapsed, while another person died in Mount Lyford, located southwest of Kaikoura.

Authorities have lifted a tsunami alert issued after the first earthquake, but warned people to stay away from the shore.

"I hope everyone is safe after the earthquake tonight. New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management is looking into the impact of the quake," New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in a statement.

In 2011, Churchchrist, home to about 400,000 people, was devastated by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that left nearly 200 people dead.

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