Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Magnitude 7.6 natural disaster near Loyalty Islands, no tsunami threat to New Zealand

Magnitude 7.6 natural disaster near Loyalty Islands, no tsunami threat to New Zealand

"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.

Residents of New Caledonia, which lies north of New Zealand, received text messages directing them to go to refuges immediately, with waves of up to three metres possible, according to the warning centre.

Basile Citre, a municipal official on Mare, one of the Loyalty Islands, said the situation there was so far under control.

"The building shook, but there was no damage. For now, nothing serious has happened". It said waves of up to 3 feet were possible in Fiji.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the undersea quake was a shallow 10 km (6 miles) deep.

"We get a lot of earthquakes every year", he said.

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The epicentre was some 300 kilometres east of Noumea.

There were no immediate reports of damage from the initial natural disaster and according to the US Geological Survey modelling, damage from the quake is expected to be minimal in terms of loss of life.

The populations of Vanuatu and New Caledonia are similar, with just over 280,000 people living in each archipelago.

A short time before WeatherWatch.co.nz said the region wasn't known for generating serious tsunami for New Zealand but everyone should keep up to date with more information as it comes in this evening.

Last month, voters in New Caledonia elected to remain a territory of France rather than becoming independent.

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