The figure 1 shows where the latest earthquake struck. Map / Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre
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New Zealanders are being warned to stay off beaches and out of boats after a tsunami warning was triggered by a large earthquake off Vanuatu.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued a warning for Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off Vanuatu.
New Zealand, Samoa and Australia are among places on tsunami watch.
The centre says it is not known whether a tsunami has been generated but an earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive wave that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours.
An advisory is being sent to all responding agencies, including Fire, Police, Coastguard, local authorities and others to put them on standby.
The Ministry of Civil Defence has advised of the potential tsunami threat to New Zealand. The public is advised to not be on beaches or in boats near the coast.
The quake struck 294km northwest of the Vanuatu island of Santo and 596km northwest of the capital of Port Vila at a depth of 35km.
There were no immediate reports of injury or damage from officials in Vanuatu, a collection of nearly 200 islands.
The latest warning comes just two weeks after a quake of magnitude 8.3 rocked the South Pacific near Samoa, sparking tsunami waves that killed at least 180 people and devastated coastal villages in Samoa, American Samoa and in northern Tonga.
Tsunami warning is in effect for:
Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati, Kosrae, Wallis-Futuna, Howland-Baker
At tsunami watch is in effect for:
Various countries including New Zealand, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Australia
- AP, NEWSTALK ZB, NZ HERALD STAFF