4.5 Quake Tremor Hits Wellington

A fresh tremor has rocked Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, just hours after the country observed two minutes of silence to mark a week after the deadly earthquake in Christchurch.

The 4.5 magnitude quake hit Wellington, just hours after a traditional Maori lament rang out over the Parliament building to mourn the estimated 240 people killed last week.

The quake, which occurred at 10.07pm local time, was widely felt in the North Island and upper South Island, and was located 20km north-west of Wellington. Though it caused no damage, it was an unpleasant reminder of New Zealand’s vulnerability to earthquakes. Vernon Small, a reporter, called it “a nasty little quake”.

Flags were lowered to half-staff and people gathered in cities and towns to bow their heads for two minutes of silence at 12.51pm local time, the moment when the quake struck Christchurch, killing at least 240 people.

Prime Minister John Key asked the nation to join in a show of unity for people “enduring tragedy beyond what most of us can imagine.”

Police said they have pulled 155 bodies from the wreckage, and that the number of others missing and feared dead indicated a final death toll higher than previously thought.