The Queen has sent a message to the people of New Zealand after a series of powerful earthquakes shook the country over the weekend.
In the message, Her Majesty writes that she and Prince Philip were shocked to hear about the earthquakes that struck the country.
In full, the Queen writes: “Prince Philip and I were shocked to hear news of the severe earthquakes that struck on Monday. I send my condolences to the families of those who were killed and to the people whose homes and businesses have been affected.
Our thoughts are with you at this time.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed two people on Monday, with thousands more being left stranded in their villages with no power supplies.
New Zealand has experienced hundreds of aftershocks since the original earthquake, some of them being very severe.
A tsunami warning was issued in the early hours of Monday morning on the East Coast, with residents being advised to seek higher ground for shelter.
The earthquake’s epicentre is close to Christchurch, a city which itself suffered a devastating earthquake in 2011.
Up to 1,000 tourists are currently stranded in the town of Kaikoura, which has been cut off by severe mudslides.
An evacuation operation has begun, with military helicopters and a navy ship assisting in the difficult task.
New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, has described the situation in Kaikoura as an “utter devastation” after he flew over the area. He said the damage bill will likely be in the “billions of dollars”.
This earthquake brings back painful memories of Christchurch in 2011 when 185 people were killed in one of the worst natural disasters in recent times.
On his tour of New Zealand in 2015, Prince Harry spent some time in Christchurch looking at how the city rebuilt itself following the earthquake.