An earthquake with a reported 7.9 magnitude hit New Zealand s South Island around 12.02am local time.

It s possible that more aftershocks are to come and casualties are difficult to determine at this time.

A warning was issued in advance and citizens were urged to seek high ground and take the necessary precautions.

New Zealand s Prime Minister, John Key, reportedly confirmed two deaths at a news conference but figures for injuries or casualties will take time due to the fact that the areas hit hardest have impassable roadways.

The earthquake hit about 50 miles north of the town of Christchurch, which was previously struck by an earthquake measuring 6.3 back in 2011.

In that case, 185 people were killed and 164 were injured.

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