Powerful earthquake hits off northeast coast of New Zealand

Andrew Cummings
March 4, 2021

Christchurch-based Bonnie Brown said the natural disaster felt very different to the Canterbury quakes.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) tweeted: "We are assessing whether the quake has created a tsunami that could affect New Zealand".

Details about possible damage or casualties were not immediately available, but shaking was widely felt across the region.

There reporter Anusha Bradley says she and hundreds of people have evacuated up to Haumoana School.

'Hope everyone is ok out there - especially on the east coast who would have felt the full force of that natural disaster, ' prime minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Instagram.

An quake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 hit off New Zealand early Friday local time, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Aftershocks were still being recorded in the area.

The emergency body said the tsunami threat applied to the east of the country's North Island. It's triggered a tsunami warning. Tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this warning is cancelled.

'Strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges near the shore are expected. this means a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities'.

It advised people near the coast to immediately move to high ground if they felt strong or long shaking.

On Feb. 22, 2011, 185 people were killed when a magnitude 6.3 natural disaster hit Christchurch.

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