Tsunami warning for NZ after strong earthquake shakes Chile

Music 17/09/2015

Waves around 4.5 metres high have started hitting Chile's coast in the city of Coquimbo, after an 8.3-magnitude struck off the country's capital.

A tsunami alert was issued after the powerful quake – initially measured at 7.9-magnitude – rocked Santiago.

The quake has been followed by 6.3 and 6.4-magnitude aftershocks, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Chilean media is reporting at least two people have died and more than a dozen people are injured.

Tsunami alarms rang out in the port city of Valparaiso and authorities have issued a tsunami warning for the entire coast of the country.

The Chilean government has ordered the evacuation of some coastal areas, CNN reports.

Interior Minister Jorge Burgos said that the evacuation of coastal towns and cities was ordered as a precautionary measure.

Tsunami warning for New Zealand

The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence has issued a tsunami warning for the Chatham Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborne, Napier/Hastings, Christchurch North, Banks Peninsula and mid-south Canterbury.

Surges are expected to arrive around midnight, and strong tidal currents are likely to continue for 24 hours. The first wave might not necessarily be the largest.

Civil Defence is advising people in those areas to stay out of the water, stay off beaches and shore areas and listen to the radio and/or TV for updates.

"In these situations, a national tsunami panel, which includes a team of experts, advises [Civil Defence] of any potential threat to New Zealand," says Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye.

"In the last couple of hours there have been several meetings of the panel, and a tsunami warning marine and beach threat has been issued for East Cape, Chatham Islands, Coromandel and Banks Peninsula."

The Canterbury University Boardriding Association had planned a night surf at New Brighton Pier this evening, but organisers have put it on hold.

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