Moooving on: Cows stranded by New Zealand quake are rescued

New Zealand on Tuesday began a rescue operation of about 1,000 tourists and hundreds of residents who remain stranded in the coastal town of Kaikoura after a powerful quake cut off train and vehicle access.

New Zealand military helicopters on Tuesday started airlifting the first of 1,200 holidaymakers trapped in the seaside town of Kaikoura, which bore the brunt of the seismic jolt.

As many as 130 Chinese citizens were stuck in the township after the quake and aftershocks closed roads and access into and out of the Kaikoura District.

After being rocked by a deadly 7.8-magnitude natural disaster, a wave of powerful aftershocks and heavy rain, thousands are now stranded in New Zealand.

The magnitude 7.8 quake that struck on Monday has left hundreds of tourists stranded in the coastal town of Kaikoura after landslides blocked off roads.

There was good news though for three cows, who captured global social media attention yesterday after being filmed stranded on a small patch of grass, the ground around their paddock having fallen away.

Global warships bound for New Zealand to celebrate the country’s naval history this week have been drafted to help quake relief efforts. Kaikoura is a popular base for whale watching.

Around 60 were to be evacuated yesterday and despite the experience, many planned to continue journeys to other parts of New Zealand, Mr Liu said.

He said four military helicopters would begin ferrying the trapped visitors, mostly worldwide backpackers, in small groups to Christchurch from early Tuesday.

Broken roads and buckled buildings mark the edges of Waipau, one of the towns nearest the centre of the natural disaster. His parents, who are now staying with him, say their home has been “totalled”.

Since then, regular smaller aftershocks have continued to hit the area.

The Red Cross said in a statement that water is running out. Heavy rain combined with earthquakes have left the town cut off.

Photos taken during aerial surveys by RNZAF aircraft showed massive rockfalls in several areas in the upper South Island.

Geonet has issued a forecast for the next 30 days, saying that continued but dwindling aftershocks are nearly certain. According to Weather Watch, a local weather site, the tsunami was followed by smaller yet very risky waves that later hit the coast along Wellington.

On Monday Clarence River, which was dammed up by a landslide, burst its banks prompting another warning to those living in the area.

New Zealand lies in the seismically active “Ring of Fire”, a 40,000 km arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that encircles much of the Pacific Ocean.

The tremor ignited painful memories for Christchurch residents, which was devastated five years ago by a 6.3 tremor that killed 185 people.

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