A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck near the New Zealand capital of Wellington on Wednesday as the nation struggles with widespread landslides and flooding due to the recent cyclone.
New Zealand’s national emergency management center reported the quake struck at a depth of 74 kilometers or 50 miles under the Cook Strait that separates the north and south islands. It was largely felt in the northern part of the island.
Currently, there is no threat of a tsunami and no damage has been reported.
The nation of New Zealand sits on the ring of fire, an arc around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes are common. The last major earthquake to affect the nation was in 2011, at the same time the man-made tsunami hit Japan.
Even before the earthquake, New Zealand had already declared a state of emergency.
Cyclone Gabrielle continues to batter the country, with floods trapping people on roofs, thousands displaced and landslides destroying homes. Officials are calling it an “unprecedented” natural disaster that is significant and widespread. About 25 hundred people have been displaced so far but that number may shift, as there are still large areas that are unreachable and cut off from telecommunications.
It is only the third time in New Zealand’s history that a national state of emergency has been declared.
The designation means the national government can send resources across the country to bolster civil defense efforts.