Powerful New Zealand earthquake triggers tsunami

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand authorities say a powerful earthquake has generated a tsunami, with the first waves hitting the South Island.

The magnitude-7.8 quake struck just after midnight Sunday near the city of Christchurch. It was at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

The quake temporarily knocked out New Zealand’s emergency call number, 111, police reported. It caused items to fall from shelves and windows to break in Wellington, and forced hundreds of tourists onto the streets as hotels were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries in the city.

The department of civil defense warned people all along the country’s east coast to move to higher ground.

Some minor damage was reported in the capital, Wellington, over 200 kilometers (120 miles) away. There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries in Christchurch.

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