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10 Feb, 2021 15:46

New Zealand issues tsunami activity warning after 7.7 magnitude earthquake in South Pacific

New Zealand issues tsunami activity warning after 7.7 magnitude earthquake in South Pacific

A tsunami activity advisory has been issued in New Zealand after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck near the Loyalty Islands, the country’s National Emergency Management Agency said on Wednesday.

“We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore,” the agency said in a statement.

Multiple areas in the north of New Zealand’s North Island have been deemed under threat and the public has been ordered to stay away from beaches and shore areas.

People do not need to evacuate other areas, unless advised by local officials, and land flooding near the coast is not expected, the National Emergency Management Agency added.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has warned that waves of up to a meter above tide level may also hit the coasts of Fiji and of Vanuatu, while Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said there was a risk of tsunami "to offshore Australian islands and territories".

The warnings come after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck southwest of the Loyalty Islands, which are part of the French territory of New Caledonia. The quake was reported at 13:20 UTC, according to the US Tsunami Warning System, with the epicenter at a depth of 21 miles (33 kilometers) below sea level.

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