Tsunami warning issued in New Zealand after magnitude 6.9 natural disaster

Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake off New Zealand

Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake off New Zealand

A strong natural disaster has struck off the northeastern coast of New Zealand, triggering a tsunami warning.

The 6.9 magnitude quake hit 178 kilometres northeast of Gisborne before 2:30 a.m. Friday, local time.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency warned of a tsunami threat along the east of the country's North Island from the quake, which it measured at magnitude 7.3.

GeoNet reported a 7.2 magnitude natural disaster east of Te Araroa around 2.30am. It said the quake occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 10km (6 miles).

The first waves were expected to lash the coast at 3.30am local time with a United States monitoring service predicting 3ft waves and local disaster officials warning of an hours-long threat of "unpredictable surges".

The closest major city to the epicentre is Gisborne with a population of about 35,500 residents.

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"Areas under LAND and MARINE THREAT: The East Coast of the North Island from CAPE RUNAWAY to TOLAGA BAY", NEMA wrote.

More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on seismic monitor GeoNet, with a few hundred describing the shaking as "severe" and 75 calling it "extreme". There was no immediate report of damages.

Tsunami waves were possible within 300 km of the quake's epicentre, the PTWC said.

A tsunami threat to New Zealand is still being assessed following a 7.2 magnitude natural disaster off the East Coast this morning.

Most others described it as light. Aftershocks were still being recorded in the area.

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