NOVEMBER 15, 2016
Just after midnight on Monday, November 14, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook New Zealand’s South Island. Initial reports indicate that two people were killed in the quake. Hundreds of aftershocks, including several at magnitude 6.0 or higher, have followed, collapsing buildings, knocking out power and telecommunications, as well as damaging roads, railway tracks, water supplies, and sewer systems.
According to the initial reports from local elders in New Zealand and the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia, none of their members have been injured or killed in the quake. The Witnesses have organized a disaster relief committee based in Christchurch, approximately 91 kilometers (57 mi.) southwest of the quake’s epicenter. Although only minor damage was done to the Witnesses’ homes and places of worship, the relief committee is working to provide for the immediate material and spiritual needs of the victims.
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, operating from their world headquarters in New York, is monitoring the situation closely. As needed, they will authorize the disaster relief committee to use funds that have been donated to their global ministry work.
International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, 1-718-560-5000
Australia and New Zealand: Rodney Spinks, 61-2-9829-5600