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Loyalty Islands earthquake: New Zealand authorities warn of ‘strong and unusual’ currents, ‘unpredictable shore surge’

Loyalty Islands earthquake: New Zealand authorities warn of ‘strong and unusual’ currents, ‘unpredictable shore surge’


The area is at potential tsunami risk after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake near the Loyalty Islands this afternoon. image / google

People have been warned to stay off beaches and out of the water along most of New Zealand’s coast after an earthquake hit the north of the country.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) warned of the possibility of “strong and unusual currents,” as well as “unexpected surges on the shore.”

NEMA says the first active tsunami could reach New Zealand shores by 5 p.m. in areas around the Northern Cape.

The 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck southeast of the Loyalty Islands just before 3:00 pm.

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Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people. NEMA has warned that there is a danger to swimmers, surfers, fishermen and anyone in or near the water.

“People who are at or near the sea in the following areas should get out of the water, away from beaches and beach areas and away from ports, marinas, rivers and estuaries.”

Threatened areas include the west coast of the North Island from Cape Reinga to Whanganui including the west coast of Auckland, the port of Manukau and New Plymouth.

East coast of the North Island from Cape Reinga to Tolaga Bay including Whangarei, Great Barrier, East coast of Auckland, Waiheke Island, Waitemata Harbour, Tauranga, Whakatane and Opotiki.

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West Coast of the South Island from Farewell Spit to Milford Sound including Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika.

“People on boats, live boards and in moorings should leave their boats/vessels and move to the shore. Do not return to the boats unless directed by the officials,” Nima said.

“There is no need to evacuate further areas unless directly advised by the local civil defense authorities. No coastal inundation (inundation of areas of land near the shore) is expected as a result of this event.”

NEMA advises people to:

Stay out of the water, away from beaches and beach areas and away from ports, marinas, rivers and estuaries. Do not go to the coast to witness unusual wave activity as there may be dangerous and unexpected surges. Listen to local civil defense authorities and follow any instructions. Share this information with family, neighbors and friends.

This map shows the affected areas. Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people. People who are at or near the sea in these areas should move away from the water, away from beaches and beach areas and away from ports, marinas, rivers and estuaries. More info at

– National Emergency Management Agency (NZcivildefence) May 19, 2023

For Vanuatu, locals are warned of the possibility of waves from 1 to 3 meters above tide level on some coasts.

Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office has ordered an “immediate evacuation” of coastal areas to higher ground.

Australia is on #Tsunami Watch after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake near the southeastern Loyalty Islands. The potential threat to #LordHoweIsland. Latest info here:

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) May 19, 2023

The RNZ has reported a tsunami risk for Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Warnings were issued just after 3 p.m. by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a depth of 10 km and struck at 2.57pm.

The quake was followed by a 5.9 aftershock nine minutes later.

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#Vanuatu’s disaster bureau has issued a tsunami warning after a 7.7 earthquake off the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia.

Includes “immediate evacuation” of coastal areas.

— Priyanka Srinivasan (@iamprianka) May 19, 2023




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