New Caledonia has ordered an evacuation of coastal areas after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Friday in the Pacific Ocean southwest of the island, triggering a tsunami warning.
The quake was detected at a depth of 37 kilometres (23 miles), the US Geological Service said.
Warning sirens had been activated and people were asked to leave areas near the island’s coastline, Colonel Marchi Leccia, a security official, told a local radio station. An AFP journalist reported that at least one beach had been evacuated.
Tsunami waves of one-to-three metres (six-to-nine feet) above tide are possible along some coastal areas of Vanuatu, the Honolulu-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
It also warned of possible smaller tsunami waves of 0.3-1.0 metres in New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati and New Zealand.
A hotel receptionist in the New Caledonia capital Noumea told AFP she felt no shaking from the tremor.
A travel agent on the island of Ile des Pins on the eastern edge of the New Caledonia archipelago said earlier on Friday that she had not felt the tremor or heard any evacuation warning.
“Everybody is still on the beach and in the restaurants,” she said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
This story originally appeared on France24