The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand before dawn Saturday appears to have not caused any deaths or severe injuries, with John Carter, the civil defence minister, calling his nation "blessed" to have escaped serious harm.

But the island has not been entirely spared. John Key, the prime minister, says early estimates put the recovery costs at around $2 billion.

Key credited his country's earthquake planning and preparedness for the lack of casualties.

Al Jazeera's Erica Wood reports.

Source: Al Jazeera