New Caledonia has ordered coastal evacuations after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean in southwest New Caledonia on Friday, triggering a tsunami warning.
The US Geological Service said the quake hit at a depth of 37 kilometers (23 miles).
Security official Colonel Marchi Leccia told a local radio station that warning sirens had been activated and people were asked to leave the area near the island’s coastline. An AFP correspondent reported that at least one beach had been evacuated.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu said some coastal areas of Vanuatu could see tsunami waves one to three meters (six to nine feet) above tide.
It also warned that smaller tsunamis of 0.3-1.0 meters were possible in New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati and New Zealand.
A hotel receptionist in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, told AFP she did not feel the tremor.
Earlier Friday, a tour operator on the Isle of Pines on the eastern fringe of the New Caledonian archipelago said she did not feel the quake and had not heard any evacuation warnings.
“Everyone is still on the beach and in restaurants,” she said.
(Reported by Agence France-Presse on the 24th)