3 New Zealand earthquakes: Tsunami warnings, evacuations
Three earthquakes have struck off the coast of New Zealand Friday morning, triggering tsunami warnings. One of the earthquakes was one of the strongest to ever hit the region.
Thousands were evacuated from some coastal areas of the North Island after the third, 8.1-magnitude quake struck.
As people tried to get to high ground, there were reports of traffic gridlocks.
The national tsunami warning was lifted at 15:43 (02:43 GMT), some 13 hours after the first quake.
AREAS UNDER BEACH AND MARINE THREAT:
The North Cape from AHIPARA to the BAY OF ISLANDS,
the East Coast of the North Island from CAPE RUNAWAY to TOLAGA BAY, and GREAT BARRIER ISLAND,
and the CHATHAM ISLANDS.
There is no tsunami threat in all other areas.
— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) March 5, 2021
Some wave surges hit parts of the coast but, by Friday afternoon, authorities said the largest waves had passed. Residents were told they could return home but were warned to stay off beaches.
The South Pacific archipelagos of New Caledonia and Vanuatu have been warned to prepare for dangerous waves.
Their coasts could see wave surges as high as 3m (10ft), while parts of South America – including Peru, Ecuador and Chile – were warned they could see 1m waves reaching their coasts.
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said “tsunami waves have been observed”, but as yet no damage had been reported.’
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