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New Caledonia earthquake: Tsunami warning issued after 7.7 magnitude quake in the South Pacific

People look out toward the seafront from the Vierge du Pacifique in Noumea following earthquake reports (AFP via Getty Images)
People look out toward the seafront from the Vierge du Pacifique in Noumea following earthquake reports (AFP via Getty Images)

A tsunami warning was issued following a 7.7 magnitude earthquake near New Caledonia in the South Pacific.

Earlier on Friday, people across the region were told to avoid all coastal areas due to the risk of waves reaching up to one metre across 26 locations following the earthquake south-east of the Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake hit at a depth of about 24 miles on Friday while at the island nation of Vanuatu, residents were told to seek higher ground.

Australia’s meteorology bureau issued a tsunami threat for Lord Howe Island off its east coast and warned the roughly 450 inhabitants to leave the water’s edge due to waves and strong currents.

In both cases, authorities later removed the tsunami warning after downgrading the threat level.

“We haven’t moved to higher ground and we’re probably not going to,” said Damien Ball of the Thompsons General Store on Lord Howe Island.

“We’ve been through this numerous times before and nothing ever comes of it.”