>> Washington's USS Sampson racing to New Zealand's quake-stricken south island on Wednesday, with warships from Australia, Canada, and Japan also on route. Part of an international fleet sailing to areas cut of by land, days after a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake triggered thousands of landslides and tore roads apart.
Leaving more than a thousand tourist stranded in the town of Kaikoura. The first wave of New Zealand navy ships reached the shore on Wednesday morning, Reuters' Charlotte Greenfield says the international fleet will play a crucial role in getting people out fast as supplies dwindle.>> The only way to get there at this stage is by helicopter or by ship.
So they've been using helicopters to try and fly as many people out as possible, but they can only get, I think it's around eight, or nine, or roughly that, people out at a time. So they're hoping to get ships in so that they can get as many people out as possible.
>> The USS Sampson will be the first American naval ship to visit the country since the 1980s. New Zealand law bars US ships from docking as part of a strict no nuclear policy, and it was only around by sheer coincidence.>> So the ship was coming for the 75th anniversary of New Zealand's navy.
There's a big celebration going on with navy ships from all around the world in New Zealand at the moment. It was quite funny timing that there's this huge natural disaster, and they called upon to kind of help out and come in and help save the day.>> There have been around 1,400 aftershocks since the quake hit, and days later they're still being felt.
On top of killing two people and leaving hundreds stranded, the disaster has caused billions of dollars in damages.