Key Points:

US Warship USS Sampson will bypass Auckland for Kaikoura to help out with the earthquake recovery. • Aftershocks continue to shake the North Canterbury region, including magnitude 5.4 and 5.8 quakes tonight. • Wellington highways are reopening after a morning of slips and flooding that brought the quake-hit region to a standstill. State Highway 1 has opened. • Power is back on in the Awatere Valley and most of Seddon. But a few isolated properties in Seddon are still without power, as well as all of Tachalls Road, and parts of Blenheim and Renwick. • The New Zealand Defence Force helicopters airlifted 103 people from Kaikoura today as more than 860 aftershocks hit the region. SH7 may remain closed until the weekend. • Prime Minister John Key has told the Herald that he believes the Government had "sharpened up" its response to earthquakes.

• The Chinese Government chartered a helicopter to get Chinese nationals out of Kaikoura. • It will be a couple of days' work to get the inland road to Kaikoura open to one lane. The coastal road is "a more challenging prospect". • Some buildings are still being assessed and areas, particularly around Featherston St, are still cordoned off. • Parliament sat at 2pm and PM John Key opened the day's business with a statement on the impact of the earthquake and the government's plans to repair the widespread damage it caused. • 600 people stayed at a marae in Kaikoura last night. HMNZS Canterbury is on its way from Auckland to also help evacuate 1100 stranded tourists. It is expected to start this job first light tomorrow. • Kaikoura is severely damaged with problems around communications, roads, water and sewage. Last night the Marlborough District Council said there was three days' water left. • For yesterday's Live Blog click here. • Power is intermittent, fuel supplies are limited and Kaikoura's hospital is at capacity. • There have been up to 100,000 landslides, and a number of dams have now formed. • Yesterday morning's devastating 7.5 quake claimed the lives of at least two people. Thousands of others miraculously escaped injury. Follow us live all day through the blog above and listen to our live coverage on Newstalk ZB Read more: • What you need to know about quake and tsunami warning and should doEvacuation centresTsunami hits east coast, Waiau feared worst hitWellington shaken awake