New Zealand on tsunami alert
CIVIL Defence has issued a marine tsunami warning for New Zealand but says it does not expect it to pose a threat for people on land.
A wave up to one metre high may reach the coasts of the central and n o r t h e r n Nor t h I s l a n d f r o m 4.30am today, but the first arrival was expected to coincide with a low tide.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a tsunami warning was in place for New Zealand, Australia and most countries bordering the Pacific Ocean.
‘‘ The New Zealand Tsunami Expert Panel assessment is that this is a marine threat only for New Zealand,’’ Civil Defence said.
‘‘ A marine threat means strong and unusual currents are possible in the sea, rivers and estuaries.
‘‘ No land threat is expected at this time.’’
Past experience and tsunami models indicated that the largest impact would be a wave of up to one metre reaching northern coasts of the North Island.
Waves would continue for several hours, and the first one may not be the largest, Civil Defence warned.
The Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management a nd scientific advisers were closely monitoring the situation to determine the severity of the threat to New Zealand. People in New Zealand coastal areas were warned to stay off beaches and out of the water.
F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r M u r r a y McCully expressed deep concern and sympathy to the people of Japan. ‘‘ All New Zealanders are concerned to learn of this major quake which has caused extensive damage. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan at this moment as they endeavour to respond to this disaster,’’ Mr McCully said.
‘‘ Japan has stood by our side in our time of need in the weeks following our tragedy in Christchurch. Our hearts go out to our friends in Japan.’’