New Caledonia natural disaster: 6.6 magnitude quake strikes Pacific

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Residents of Vanuatu and New Caledonia were told to brace for possible tsunamis, following a magnitude 7.0 natural disaster that struck 50 miles east of the Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific.

Reuters reported two waves hit at 12.35pm (NZT). PTWC warns that follow-up waves may occur at intervals of five minutes to an hour, and may be higher than before.

Monday's quake struck at 9.43am local time at a shallow depth of 10 km, east of the remote Loyalty Islands, the United States Geological Survey says.

The Seismology Unit of Fiji's Mineral Resources department with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) reported that the 7.0 magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 10km. However, no immediate casualties and damage have recorded. New Caledonia is a French territory, made up a series of islands.

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"Tsunami waves have been observed", the agency said.

"Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 metres above the tide level are possible for some coasts of New Caledonia".

According to reports, evacuation orders for the coastal regions have not been issued yet.

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