The regional response following this morning’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami warnings is now focusing on damage assessment and welfare.

Horizons Regional Council Emergency Operation Centre controller Craig Grant says Tararua District Council evacuated 20 people in Akitio and 9 Herbertville earlier this morning.

“However following the tsunami warning being downgraded to a marine and beach threat, residents were allowed back home from 5.20am. Thank you to everyone who responded quickly and cooperated.”

District and city councils throughout the Region have completed visual checks of buildings and infrastructure.
“So far the impact of the earthquake to our area has been minor. There are still pockets of power outages and restoration times can be found on both Powerco’s and Electra’s websites.

“If you have any concerns regarding earthquake damage to your dwelling or property, please visit the EQC website and fill out their online form to obtain an EQC number which you then need to supply to your private insurance provider. If you don't have internet access call 0800 DAMAGE (326 243).”

Mr Grant says aftershocks are expected to continue throughout the day and these can still trigger tsunami warnings.

“If you experience a long or strong aftershock, or see a sudden rise or fall in the sea level move immediate to the nearest high ground, or as far inland as you can. We recommend that people continue to listen to the TV and radio for updates and where possible check your neighbours are informed.”

For anybody travelling outside of the Region please be advised that train services on the main trunk line south of Palmerston North have been suspended until further notice. The Cook Strait ferries are also currently inoperable.