A tsunami has struck New Zealand, triggered by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake which had struck the country earlier in the day.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 struck central New Zealand just after midnight, the US Geological Survey said, generating a tsunami that hit the northeast coast of the South Island.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management warned of the risk of destructive waves along the country’s entire east coast and urged residents in low-lying areas to evacuate and seek higher ground.
Anna Kaiser, a seismologist at GNS Science said a tidal signal or surge of up to one metre (3 feet) had been recorded in North Canterbury region of the South Island.
“That’s reasonably significant so people should take this seriously,” she told Radio New Zealand.
The quake was centered 91 km (57 miles) north-northeast of Christchurch, the biggest city on New Zealand’s South Island.