Tsunami warning after quake near New Caledonia

Tsunami warning after quake near New Caledonia

A POWERFUL magnitude 7.3 quake near New Caledonia has triggered a tsunami warning for Australia's east coast.

An undersea natural disaster of magnitude 7.0 struck 82 kms east of New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands at 9.43 am local time.

It said that tsunami waves had been "observed" but gave no location or further detail.

The PTWC has warned of "hazardous tsunami waves" possible for coasts within 300 km of the epicenter, which puts the Loyalty Islands archipelago, with a population of over 17,000, within range.

There was no immediate news on damage or casualties.

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Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office advised people in southern provinces to evacuate coastal areas for higher ground.

Pierre Lebellegard, a seismologist for the French Research Institute for Development, told AFP the Loyalty Islands had been seismically active for the past three weeks.

The quake was initially recorded as 6.6 magnitude, but is now being reported as 6.4.

It is the second natural disaster to strike near New Caledonia in a month.

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