New Zealand has been hit by a thousand aftershocks since Monday’s powerful earthquakes, triggering nearly a lakh landslides across the country. “We are roughly estimating from yesterday’s reconnaissance flights that there may have been from 80,000 to 1,00,000 landslides,” said Geonet, which monitors geological hazards in the South Pacific country. “The reports of landslide dams points to a potential developing hazard.”
While hundreds remain stranded in the tourist town of Kaikoura, which is north of Christchurch, torrential rainfall in national capital Wellington has been hindering rescue operations, as well. “There are about 140 people who we are looking to get out of Kaikoura as rapidly as we can,” Prime Minister John Key said.
The air force has been airlifting tourists and locals stranded in Kaikoura as road access to the town has been cut off. Wellington’s central business district has been cordoned off amid fear that a nine-storey building is on the verge of collapsing. Structures around it have been evacuated, including the New Zealand headquarters of Red Cross and the Embassy of Thailand.
So far, the United States, Japan and Malaysia have offered to assist with relief and rescue operations, but the New Zealand administration has maintained that the country has the capacity to deal with the consequences of the earthquakes at the moment, The Guardian reported.
Both the North and South islands of the country have been witnessing strong aftershocks. Geonet has warned of more earthquakes in the coming month. The confirmed toll in the earthquake remains two, while a number of citizens sustained minor injuries.
The first quake, which measured 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, hit around 95 km from Christchurch early on Monday. It was followed by several aftershocks, some measuring as high as 6 on the scale. The first waves of the tsunami arrived in the north-eastern coast two hours after the quake.