19 May 2023

NEMA cancels tsunami warning following magnitude 7.7 Pacific quake

9:54 pm on 19 May 2023


The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says the risk of tsunami activity on the East and West Coasts has passed.

An earthquake in the Pacific earlier this evening caused unusual currents and unpredictable surges in New Zealand waters.

NEMA warned coastal areas of New Zealand could expect to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the Pacific.

A tsunami threat was issued for Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia after the quake struck southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

The warnings were issued just after 3pm by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. The earthquake was nearly 38km deep.

In its warning, NEMA said: "Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people. There is a danger to swimmers, surfers, people fishing, and anyone in or near the water close to shore.

"People ... should move out of the water, off beaches and shore areas and away from harbours, marinas, rivers and estuaries...This may be later and the first tsunami activity may not be the most significant. Strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this advisory is cancelled."

Coastal inundation was not expected, NEMA said.

Around 9pm, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said no destructive waves were expected, and NEMA soon followed.

"NEMA advises that some strong and unusual currents may continue overnight and urges caution in affected beach and marine areas," it said at 9.45pm.