The tsunami warning was withdrawn for areas in the South Pacific hours after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Vanuatu.
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck the South Pacific nation VanuatuThe US Geological Survey said the trigger for a tsunami warning for the area was withdrawn a few hours later.
The quake struck around 11:30 p.m. local time (12:30 GMT) on Sunday. The agency said the epicenter was 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Port Olry and at a depth of 27 kilometers (17 miles).
Notable earthquakes, preliminary information: M 7.0 – 23 km WNW of Port-Olry, Vanuatu https://t.co/06FQfghHrz
– USGS earthquake (@USGS_Quakes) January 8, 2023
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that a tsunami threat it had posed for the nearby Vanuatu coast had passed.
Some Vanuatu residents fled to higher ground after the warning was first issued.
Kayson Pore, a 22-year-old student from the village of Hog Harbor in Espiritu Santo, said he felt the ground shake “hugely”.
“We’re right on the sea, we’re looking for crabs on the beach,” he said. “We run for our lives and then we run to our homes.”
At his home in a village of about 1,000 people, the quake knocked objects to the ground, breaking cups in the kitchen, Pore said.
“People are moving to higher ground,” he added, fearing tsunamis. But Pore said he saw no structural damage to the homes in his village.
There are currently no reports of damage or casualties.
Vanuatu has a population of 280,000 and consists of several dozen islands. It lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide, and it regularly experiences seismic and volcanic activity.
In November, a nearby island nation north of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, 7.0 . earthquake attack. There were no reports of serious injury or damage.
Coastal areas of nearby Papua New Guinea have been placed on tsunami alert for up to 30cm (12 inches).
The French Embassy in Vanuatu advised people to stay away from the coasts in a post on its official Facebook page.