read for fear of harm. A tsunami alert was sounded Friday morning in New Caledonia after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake at 08:28 local time (19:28 GMT Thursday) near the Kermadec, uninhabited Pacific islands that are part of New Zealand , but the dreaded wave did not finally break. The alert was “lifted on all French territories in the Pacific” two hours after it was triggered, tweeted Overseas Minister Sébastien Lecornu around 02:25, Paris time.
The tsunami alert has been lifted on all French territories in the Pacific.
Thank you to all the State services and communities mobilized to allow, as a precaution, evacuations from coastal areas in less than 2 hours.
– Sébastien Lecornu (@SebLecornu) March 5, 2021
The highest wave, one meter, occurred in New Caledonia on the island of Maré, in the archipelago of the Loyalty Islands, while on the island of Pines, in Yaté and in Nouméa of waves between 45 centimeters and 80 centimeters were observed, indicated the local civil security, which specified that no damage was to be deplored. After a series of powerful earthquakes, tens of thousands of people in coastal areas of New Caledonia, New Zealand and Vanuatu fled to the heights and inland on Friday.
Early Friday morning, the 64 New Caledonian tsunami warning sirens sounded on the beaches of Noumea and firefighters evacuated bathers and athletes. Most stores had also lowered their curtains, Agence France Presse found. A toll-free number has been made available to the population while 11 schools near the coast in Noumea have been evacuated, said the southern province.
Evacuation orders also lifted in New Zealand
The rise in water levels was much less than expected. Finally, only a few people found themselves a little dehydrated after being stranded for several hours in traffic jams in Tahiti. It was indeed forbidden to travel on the East Coast, which caused traffic jams in the North-East of Tahiti.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), located in Hawaii, had warned that waves up to three meters high could hit Vanuatu and New Caledonia. This organization added that smaller waves were as likely to hit countries as far from the epicenter of the earthquake as Japan, Russia and Mexico, as well as the shores of South America.
The New Zealand emergency services had also ordered the evacuation of coastal areas over long stretches of northern New Zealand (the North Island), after the earthquake occurred a thousand kilometers from there, according to the USGS observatory. “People (being) near the coast in the following areas must immediately move to the nearest heights, out of all evacuation areas, or as far inland as possible,” ordered the National Emergency Management Agency. ” Do not stay at home ! She warned.
Hours later, New Zealand finally lifted evacuation orders for much of its coastline on Friday, saying “the biggest waves have now passed” after this series of powerful earthquakes at sea. “All people who evacuated can now return, ”said the National Emergency Management Agency, which had ordered tens of thousands of residents to take refuge on higher ground.