We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in New Zealand contact friends and relatives in the United States and let them know that they are safe. Please continue to follow the instructions of civil defense authorities at the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management website at http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/.
Earthquake Update: According to GeoNet, there appears to have been two separate but related quakes happening. Their reports indicate that the combination of these two quakes lasted two minutes, with the most severe shaking at around 50 seconds. It was widely felt throughout both the North and South Islands. More than 380 aftershocks have been reported with 216 tremors registering over magnitude 4, and the aftershocks are likely to continue over the coming weeks.
Kaikoura Hit Hardest: Kaikoura has been the hardest hit by the earthquake. It is currently inaccessible by land after a landslide blocked State Highway One north of Kaikoura. There has been major infrastructure damage in Kaikoura, leaving the town with limited power and no sewer or water supply. Emergency services from Nelson and Christchurch were airlifted in to help local response teams. Police are working to airlift travelers stranded north and south of Kaikoura.
Tsunami Warning Cancelled: The tsunami warning that was in place for Wellington to Banks Peninsula has officially been cancelled by Civil Defence, but Civil Defence warns that coasts may experience unusual, strong currents, and sea level fluctuations for several more hours.
Severe Weather Warning: Members of the public are urged to stay away from central Wellington for at least this afternoon and evening as the forecast calls for severe winds that could dislodge broken glass and other materials from buildings damaged in the earthquakes. Heavy rain is predicted for west of South Island from Monday afternoon and for central and southern North Island high country on Tuesday. Severe gales are forecast from Monday evening for Wellington, Marlborough, and Wairarapa. With a full moon tonight, tides will be high and flooding is possible, especially in the Nelson area around tonight's high tide at 10:30 PM which coincides with strong onshore winds and heavy rain.
Be Prepared: The standard advice from Civil Defence for what to do in an earthquake is to drop, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, and hold on, or shelter against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, etc. In most emergencies you should be able to stay in your home. Plan to be able to look after yourself and your household for at least three days or more. Assemble and maintain your emergency survival items for your home as well as a portable getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry. You should also have essential emergency items in your workplace and in your car. Detailed information on what to do is available at www.getthru.govt.nz. www.gns.cri.nz and www.nzsee.org.nz also offer information on earthquakes.
Please enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Consulate General in New Zealand is located at Citigroup Centre, 3rd Floor, 23 Customs Street East, Auckland and is open Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., website https://nz.usembassy.gov/, email address AucklandACS@state.gov.
If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is (64) 09 303 2724 x 2900 or, after hours, (64) 04 462 6000.