A landslide covers a section of state highway 1 near Kaikoura, New Zealand, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, after a powerful earthquake. (David Alexander/SNPA via AP)
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A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake pummeled central New Zealand early Monday, killing at least two people, damaging roads and buildings and setting off hundreds of strong aftershocks.Hundreds of aftershocks, the strongest a 6.2 quake at about 1.45 p.m. local time (0045 GMT), rattled the South Pacific country, fraying nerves in an area where memories of a deadly 2011 quake are still fresh.Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand's ruggedly beautiful South Island, is still recovering from the 6.3 quake in 2011 that killed 185 people.New Zealand's Civil Defense declared a state of emergency for the Kaikoura region, centered on a tourist town about 150 km (90 miles) northeast of Christchurch, soon after Monday's large aftershock.The quakes and aftershocks rattled buildings and woke residents across the country, hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter.Government research unit GNS Science later said the overnight quake appeared to have been two simultaneous quakes which together lasted more than two minutes.Around 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur within this region.
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