In Brief

Tsunami scare for Vanuatu and New Caledonia

‘Small’ tsunamis detected following magnitude 7.0 undersea earthquake

Residents of Vanuatu and New Caledonia were told to brace for possible tsunamis, following a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck 50 miles east of the Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 9.43am local time at a depth of seven miles, triggering tsunami warnings for the low-lying islands around the site.

The US Pacific tsunami warning centre issued an alert for “hazardous tsunami waves of 0.3m to one metre”, but later announced that the danger period had “largely passed”, The Guardian says.

"We are a little bit scared, we have had an earthquake last night and today it was quite a big one," Wayan Rigault, communications manager at Hotel Nengone Village on the island of Mare, told SBS News. Mare is the closest landmass to the epicentre.

The ABC reports that Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office “advised people in southern provinces to evacuate coastal areas for higher ground”, while New Caledonia's civil security agency said it was “not planning any immediate evacuations after initial assessments”.

This morning’s quake was the second major tremor in the same area in just over 12 hours, and the third in the past month.

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