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Major Earthquake Hits New Zealand

Sunday's 7.8 earthquake on New Zealand's South Island has caused billions of dollars in damage, cutting off roads and destroying buildings.

A woman and child in front of a house damaged by an earthquake as it sits on the fault line at Bluff Station near Kaikoura on the South Island's east coast.

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed two people and caused massive infrastructure damage in New Zealand, but officials said they were optimistic the death toll would not rise further. The jolt, one of the most powerful ever recorded in the quake-prone South Pacific nation, hit just after midnight near the South Island coastal town of Kaikoura.

ALEX PERROTTET / AFP - Getty Images

Mary Kimber stands in her kitchen following an earthquake in Waiau on Nov. 14. 

Mike Scott / New Zealand Herald via AP

Huge slips block a highway in Kaikoura on Nov.14.

Mark Mitchell / Getty Images

Policemen and locals assess damage following the earthquake near the town of Ward, on New Zealand's South Island.

ANTHONY PHELPS / Reuters

Emergency crews respond to the scene of earthquake damage on Nov. 14 in Wellington.

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Cracks in farmland around Conway near Kaikoura on Nov. 14.

The earthquake triggered landslides and a small tsunami, cracked apart roads and homes, but largely spared the country the devastation it saw five years ago when a deadly earthquake struck the same region.

David Alexander / SNPA via AP

A damaged railway line near Tirohanga stream south of Blenheim on Nov. 14.

ANTHONY PHELPS / Reuters

Hotel guests gather in a parking lot on Nov. 14 in Wellington. 

Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

Drivers attempt to cross a damaged road.

NEW ZEALAND TRANSPORT AGENCY / AFP - Getty Images

A woman assesses the damage at a hotel in Waiau on Nov. 14.

Matias Delacroix / Getty Images