Monday, 17 December, 2018

Tsunami warning for Vanuatu and New Caledonia after 7.6 magnitude natural disaster

Potential travel time for a tsunami had one been generated on Tuesday Potential travel time for a tsunami had one been generated on Tuesday
Pablo Mccormick | 05 December, 2018, 09:40

A powerful 7.6 magnitude natural disaster was registered off the east coast of New Caledonia in the South Pacific on Wednesday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The epicentre of the quake was some 300 kilometres east of the New Caledonia capital Noumea, but such was the force of the shock that experts said small tsunami waves may be observed as far away as Antarctica and Russian Federation.

New Caledonia is part of the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", where many earthquakes occur.

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"We have set off the alarm on the exterior of New Caledonia but we don't have any immediate assessment of potential damage", a spokeswoman for the Directorate for Civil Protection and Risk Management told the Reuters news agency.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre immediately issued a warning that hazardous tsunami waves could possibly affect locations up to 1000km away - including New Caledonia and Vanuatu - and that tsunmai waves had been observed.

Tsunami alerts have been issued for both New Caledonia and nearby Vanuatu, a state in the South Pacific consisting of some 80 islets with a population of 270,000 people.

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The natural disaster had a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 and rattled the area just after 8 p.m., according to the United States Geological Survey.

"The procedure is to ask people who work near the sea to move higher up".

The warning identified vulnerable areas including Vanuatu's Anatom Island, Esperitu Santo; New Caledonia's Noumea and Fiji's Suva.

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Meanwhile Australia's department of foreign affairs warned its citizens in New Caledonia to seek safety.

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