Sydney, Australia, May 25 (efe-epa).- New Zealand’s prime minister on Monday reacted calmly to a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that struck during a live television interview while she was at Wellington’s parliament buildings.
“We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here Ryan. Quite a decent shake,” Jacinda Ardern, known for keeping her cool in a crisis, told Ryan Bridge, a host for Newshub’s The AM Show.
The earthquake was located about 110 kilometers (68 miles) northwest of the capital off the coast of Foxton town and at a depth of about 52km, according to the United States Geological Survey.
While it rattled the lower North Island at around 8 am and was felt by many in the region, there were no reports of major damage or injuries.
Ardern soon said she was fine and ready to continue the interview.
“We’re fine, I’m not under any hanging lights. I look like I’m in a structurally sound place,” Ardern told Bridge.
At a later press conference on COVID-19, Ardern said the first thing going through her mind when the quake struck as she was live on TV was: “Are you serious?”
She was also asked if it was her 23-month-old daughter Neve’s first earthquake.
“I don’t believe it was the first… we’ve had tremors before. Well certainly Premier House tends to feel them quite acutely,” she said, adding that at the time what she “was also mindful of is that it’s not always easy to get a real sense of the magnitude of an earthquake in here because of the base isolators – you can tend to move a little bit more than what the quake implies in terms of strength.”
Base isolators are flexible pads between a building’s foundations that move and stretch under pressure to minimize structural damage during earthquakes.
Located on the Ring of Fire and on the boundary between the Pacific and the Australian tectonic plates, New Zealand – often called the Shaky Isles – experiences around 14,000 earthquakes each year.
On Feb. 22, 2011 the South Island city of Christchurch was hit by a magnitude-6.3 earthquake at a depth of just 5km, killing 185 people and injuring several thousand. The city is still under reconstruction. EFE-EPA