Strong earthquake felt in New Zealand capital

WELLINGTON (AFP):  New Zealand’s capital Wellington was swayed by a strong earthquake Wednesday, with residents reporting feeling a sudden jolt and buildings quivering.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.7 on the moment magnitude scale, with an epicentre in the Cook Strait between the country’s two main islands.

“A big shake there! A magnitude 6.0, 57 km deep, 50 km north-west of Paraparaumu was widely felt in the North Island,” said New Zealand’s Civil Defence agency.

There were no immediate reports of damage, and no tsunami warning has been issued.

But residents reported feeling the ground shaking for 10-20 seconds, likening it to a convoy of giant trucks rolling by.

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The quake came as the cleanup gets underway from a devastating cyclone, which killed four people and caused widespread damage across the North Island.

“It is already a really stressful time for people – look after yourself and the people around you,” said the civil defence agency.