A powerful 7.5-magnitude quake struck near New Caledonia on Wednesday (Dec 5), triggering a tsunami alert and emergency evacuations across a swathe of the South Pacific, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.
The undersea quake was only 10km deep, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), and struck about 155km from the Loyalty Islands, off New Caledonia's east coast. And waves up to 300mm were possible in other Pacific areas, including New Zealand.
The quake struck about 104 miles east of Tadine in New Caledonia at a shallow depth of six miles, according to the US Geological Survey.
New Zealand Civil Defence has just issued a statement saying there is NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO NEW ZEALAND.
Tsunami sirens blared across New Caledonia minutes after the quake.
The quake struck off the coast of New Caledonia. File pic Martial Dosdane
The New Zealand government's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management also said there is no tsunami risk to their country. Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the quake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will affect New Zealand. The evacuation order from the regional police said western islands didn't need to evacuate but should remain vigilant.
A 72cm-high tsunami has been observed near Lenakel, the largest town on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, the PTWC reported.
Small waves reportedly hit Aneityum, which is the southernmost island of Vanuatu, but the waves only reached 7 feet beyond normal tides, CBS News reported, citing the media director at the Vanuatu Daily Post.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the French overseas territory.
Seismologists in Australia said they are monitoring the natural disaster.
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And he added: "The world's people have spoken, their message is clear, time is running out, they want you, the decision-makers, to act now".