Residents of parts of the Pacific, including northern New Zealand, have been warned of strong waves after a series of magnitude 8.1 earthquakes. Small “tsunami waves” were observed off the island of Tonga, according to the Hawaii Tsunami Warning Center. They could become waves of up to three meters.
Fear of the tsunami
The last earthquakes were in the Kermadec Islands, about 800 kilometers from the North Island of New Zealand. Earlier today, there was an earthquake with a magnitude of about 7.0 on the east coast of the island. Initially, there were fears of a tsunami.
Authorities called on residents of coastal areas to flee to higher areas, but the dangerous tidal waves and damage did not materialize. New warnings were issued later. The Pacific Warning Center has issued tsunami warnings for coastal areas including Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and a number of other islands.
Pick up the kids
“People should get off the beaches and stop all water activities,” an emergency services spokesperson said on the radio. People are advised not to pick up their children from school first, to avoid traffic jams.
New Zealand’s National Crisis Management Agency (NEMA) has warned residents that earthquakes could have a major impact, despite being relatively remote. “The earthquake may not have been felt everywhere, but immediate evacuation is needed because a devastating tsunami is possible.”
Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated from coastal areas. They can now go home.