Earthquake warning to New Zealand

New Zealand earthquake: Third, larger tremor sparks fresh tsunami warnings

A third powerful earthquake has sparked fresh tsunami warnings after striking off the coast of New Zealand within hours of two other large tremors in the South Pacific.

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Thousands were told to evacuate on Friday morning local time following the 8.1 magnitude quake. Authorities in New Zealand told residents in certain areas on the East Coast of the North Island to leave their homes and immediately move to higher ground, amid warnings of a possible damaging tsunami.

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The US Tsunami Warning System also cautioned that the third quake could cause tsunami waves of between one to thre metres in French Polynesia and waves of up to one metre in Niue, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.

The 8.1 quake was the largest in a series of tremors that struck the region over several hours.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties, and the warning was lifted just before the larger quake struck.

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