Last Friday, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand about 19 miles west of Christchurch. Fortunately, no one was killed although there was quite a bit of damage. The earthquake, which hit at 4:35 AM local time, moved the ground up to 11 feet along the fault line. 75% of homes in Christchurch were left without electricity and the water supply was cut off. Aftershocks with a magnitude as high as 5.4 continue to hit the area.
The initial reports on domestic radio were pretty sketchy. In years past, I would have turned to shortwave for further information. Propagation would have limited my choices, but Radio Australia and the BBC World Service would have been good choices during the day and Radio New Zealand International at night.
With the decline of shortwave broadcasting, neither the BBC World Service nor Radio Australia still broadcast to North America. The logical choice today is radio streams on the internet. I could have listened directly to either the BBC World Service or Radio Australia, but I decided to try sources a little closer to the earthquake.
Some good sources for information included the newspaper The New Zealand Herald and Radio New Zealand National. I also heard good information on Newstalk ZB from Christchurch (1098 AM). Newstalk ZB was right in the middle of the damage (in fact, the Newstalk ZB building was evacuated on Monday due to damage from the aftershocks). They suspended their normal Saturday programming for news about the earthquake.