Cyprus Mail

Offshore quake prompts New Zealand to evacuate some towns

By Charlotte Greenfield

Civil defence authorities in New Zealand ordered the evacuation of some coastal areas early on Friday due to fears that an offshore earthquake could cause a tsunami, although agencies in other countries said it was not a major threat.

The magnitude 7.1 quake struck at 4:37 a.m. (1637 GMT) at a depth of 55 km, some 130 km north-east of Te Araroa, off the North Island, according to government earthquake detection service Geonet.

Twitter users in North Island reported being woken up by shaking. The disaster management authority issued an advisory of a potential tsunami threat in coastal areas.

People living on the coast near the town of Gisborne, the area nearest the quake’s epicentre, were told to evacuate and get to higher ground or go as far inland as they could.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and its scientific advisors were still assessing the severity of the tsunami threat.

But the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center and the Chilean Navy said there was no danger of a tsunami on the Pacific coasts of the Americas.

New Zealand media reported some power outages in the east coast region.

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