New Zealand on tsunami alert

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

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.’’

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