Tsunami warning issued after 7.9 magnitude earthquake near Tonga
(CNN) — The government of the island nation of Tonga called for an immediate evacuation inland on Friday following what it said was a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that triggered a tsunami warning.
“A strong earthquake has occurred near Tonga and felt in whole of Tonga. A dangerous tsunami could occur in minutes,” the government said in a statement on its website.
“You are advised to evacuate immediately inland to high ground or to the 3rd level of a steel or concrete building until the threat has passed. Mariners are advised to move to deep ocean away from reefs,” it said.
The Tonga government said the earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) about 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of the city of Neiafu, on the island of Vava’u.
The United States Geological Survey (USGA) said Friday a 7.3 magnitude earthquake had been detected 211 kilometers east of Neiafu, Tonga.
Earlier this year, Tonga was hit by a record-breaking eruption from an underwater volcano, which released a huge plume of ash, gas and steam up to 20 kilometers into the atmosphere and sent tsunami waves rolling across the Pacific.
The main island, Tongatapu, suffered significant damage from the tsunami and was smothered in a thick layer of ash.
At least two deaths were reported at the time.
This is a breaking news story. More to follow.
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