A severe 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the east of New Zealand’s North Island on Friday, prompting a tsunami warning, and authorities advised people in coastal areas to move immediately to high ground.
Tsunami waves were possible within 300 km of the quake’s epicentre, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said.
“Anyone near the coast who felt a LONG or STRONG quake should MOVE IMMEDIATELY to the nearest high ground, or as far inland as you can,” the National Emergency Management Agency said in a tweet.
There was no immediate report of damages.
New Zealand government’s seismic monitor GeoNet pegged the quake at a magnitude of 7.2 with a depth of 94 km (58 miles).
More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on GeoNet’s website, with 282 people describing the shaking as “severe” and 75 saying it was “extreme”. Most others described it as light.
The closest major city to the epicentre is Gisborne with a population of about 35,500 residents. People near the coast from Cape Runaway to Tolaga Bay were told to evacuate.