Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake in South Pacific

There was a strong earthquake near the archipelago of New Caledonia in the South Seas. The authorities asked residents to leave the coastal areas: a tsunami is feared.

The US service USGS put the magnitude of the earthquake on Friday at 7.7. The early warning system in the USA then issued a tsunami warning – for New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, among others. After initial talk of possibly up to three meter high waves in Vanuatu, the authority later put the information into perspective. She only expected waves of a maximum of one meter in Vanuatu and 0.3 meters in other Pacific countries, including Fiji.

Precautions for residents of Vanuatu

Authorities in Vanuatu advised residents across the archipelago to take immediate precautions and move from coastal areas to higher elevations. In New Caledonia, too, people have been asked to leave coastal areas.

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The emergency agency in New Zealand tweeted that it was closely monitoring the situation. “We anticipate that coastal areas of New Zealand will experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable coastal tides,” it said. There is no threat to Australia, the meteorological authority there said.

According to the latest information, the quake struck 37 kilometers south-east of the Loyalty Islands, which are part of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia. Around 18,000 people live on the islands of the archipelago. New Caledonia with 270,000 inhabitants is located in the southern Pacific, 1500 kilometers east of Australia and north of New Zealand. (dpa)

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