New Zealand earthquake: Monster 7.3 quake sparks tsunami warning

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The earthquake of a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 has sparked a tsunami warning in the region, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Shocked witnesses took to social media to describe their panic. One person living in the Lower Hutt suburb of Petone in the North Island said: “Medium shake that kept rolling for a while. Woke us up.” 

And a person living in Wellington said the shake “woke me up”. 

The country’s National Emergency Management Agency issued an alert urging people living in coastal communities to move to higher ground. 

They said: “We are assessing whether the M7.3 EAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND earthquake at 2021-03-05 2:27 AM has created a tsunami that could affect New Zealand.

“We will provide an update as soon as the initial assessment has been completed.

“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.”

One panicked parent said “should I go wake up my kid or what?!”

Another told authorities to “use the sirens” to wake up their neighbours.

One woman living in the Lower Hutt region said her only route to higher ground was via a coastal drive which could present problems given the tsunami alert. 

She said: “I live in Eastbourne Lower Hutt and the only way out is very coastal drive where the water very often hits your car so what do we do?! Are we in danger here?”

One man on the west coast of the north island, in Hawke’s Bay, said he had already scrambled to a higher point. 

He said: “Waiting on the Napier hill for updates. Stay safe everyone.”

More to follow… 

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