A powerful earthquake, initially measured at magnitude 8.0, has hit east of Papua New Guinea. The initial quake has already been followed by several aftershocks with magnitude 5.5-6.0. The tremor prompted New Zealand’s Civil Defense to issue a tsunami warning, which was soon canceled.

PTWC forecast the tsunami waves to reach one to three meters above the tide level along some coasts of the archipelago in the South West Pacific region. Several hours later, the warning was lifted. Amidst the warnings, many residents in the northern parts of the autonomous region of Bougainville fled to the hills. The town residents have vacated the whole place; those in the villages live higher up, so they’re ok, it’s just those near the coast.

 

A nurse at Buka General Hospital in Bougainville also said the quake was so powerful she was scared the building she was sleeping might collapse.

Residents in other parts of Papua New Guinea said they had not felt the quake.

New Zealand’s Civil Defense also issued an official tsunami warning. No evacuations were necessary, however, the agency did warn residents via its Twitter account to stay out of the water and off the beaches. READ MORE