A series of strong earthquakes hit the city of Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday, causing damage and disruption.
The first quake, measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, hit at 1.58 p.m. local time and its epicentre was 26 km east-northeast of the city. The second one, of the magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale, came 80 minutes later.
One person was hurt, but there were no reports of large-scale damage. Electricity and telecommunications services have been disrupted in some areas. Most of the buildings in Christchurch were evacuated, with people running into the streets, fearing that office structures would collapse. Fire engines, ambulances and police were seen rushing to handle damages and casualties.
Local news media reported people fleeing in fear as the quake and a series of strong aftershocks rattled the city.
In February, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the central business district of Christchurch, killing more than 180 people. Christchurch, the biggest city on the South Island of New Zealand, is in the process of rebuilding the areas that suffered the worst damage from that quake. Scientists had warned last month of an increased probability that another powerful earthquake would hit Christchurch.