New Zealand’s North Island struck by natural disaster

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck Wellington today

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck Wellington today

Schoolchildren in New Zealand were forced to scramble underneath their desks as a magnitude 6.1 quake struck the country's North Island.

Parliament was briefly suspended in Wellington and some flights aborted landings there, the New Zealand Herald newspaper said, following the quake, which hit 63km (39 miles) east of the city of New Plymouth, at a depth of 228km (142 miles).

It was centred 25km southwest of Taumarunui and described as strong, according to GeoNet.

People attending the event said they did feel the quake.

More than 15,000 people have reported feeling the natural disaster with some having felt it as far north as Auckland and as south as Christchurch.

Anxious students took to social media to show themselves hurrying to sit underneath their desks in their classroom at the time of the quake.

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When Parliament resumed, Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi told lawmakers there had been no reports of damage.

New Zealand has suffered damaging earthquakes in recent years.

Residents throughout the country are reporting a large-scale natural disaster.

The quake also brought down many buildings damaged by a magnitude-7.1 tremor that struck in September 2010 without causing many serious injuries.

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