‘Dangerous’ tsunami warning after earthquake struck Tonga

A tsunami warning has been issued after a powerful earthquake struck Tonga this morning.

The quake had a magnitude of 6.6 when it struck 33 km northwest of Fangale’ounga, Ha’apai, the US Geological Survey said.

Tonga Met Services said: “A dangerous tsunami could occur in minutes. You are advised to evacuate immediately inland to high ground or to the 3rd level of a steel or concrete building until the threat has passed. Mariners are advised to mover to deep ocean away from reefs.”

It said the quake was felt in “All of Tonga”.

Residents reported feeling the quake on social media.

It said tsunami sirens went off.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Meanwhile, a strong earthquake has struck Vanuatu, but there are no tsunami warnings or immediate reports of damage.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 when it hit at 9.23am local time (10.23am NZ time), the US Geological Survey said.

Its epicentre was 83km northwest of the capital, Port Vila, at a depth of 29km.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no risk of the quake causing a tsunami.

Vanessa Apuary, a Port Vila hotel worker, said the quake’s impact “wasn’t that big” considering its magnitude, which she understood to be 6.4.

“It was heavy and slow, but didn’t do any damage at all in Port Vila,” Apuary told The Associated Press.

Vanuatu sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world’s earthquake and volcanic activity occurs.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake a year ago caused a small tsunami to wash ashore at Vanuatu but no damage was reported.

Vanuatu’s closest neighbouring territories are New Caledonia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The island nation is around 2500km north of New Zealand.

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