Published on : Monday, March 8, 2021
A fourth major earthquake has rocked New Zealand this morning as shocking footage emerges of a huge wave surge hitting the North Island’s coast. On 5th March, 2021 the coastal residents in the region were told to move immediately to higher ground after four earthquakes off the nation’s coast.
However, the threat level has been downgraded and evacuees are now able to return home, as authorities say the largest waves have now passed. The local media published photos shows huge wave surges already hitting areas like Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast.
A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off the Kermadec Islands, 1000km northeast of New Zealand, at 8.28am local time.
Late this morning there has been a fourth aftershock at the Kermadec Islands. This one has been measured as 6.2 in magnitude and struck at a depth of 10km at 12:12pm local time.
The National Emergency Management Agency alerted that people near coast from the Bay of Islands to Whangarei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay, and Great Barrier Island must move immediately to nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.
The National Emergency Management Authority said residents must evacuate these areas even if they did not feel the earthquake. “DO NOT WAIT. A damaging tsunami is possible.”
New Zealand’s Emergency Minister said messages from Civil Defence regarding the risk of tsunami overrode coronavirus advice and restrictions.
However, as of this afternoon, the threat level has been downgraded and evacuees are now able to return home, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has announced.
GNS Science has advised that the largest waves have now passed.
A Beach and Marine threat now applies to all areas previously under a Land and Marine threat – however, NEMA says there is “still danger” and locals in these areas should stay away from the beach and shoreline. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology also issued a marine tsunami warning for Norfolk Island, although land areas are not expected to be affected.
The hundreds of residents fled their homes earlier today, workplaces and schools to get to higher ground, with reports of chaos in towns such as Whangarei and Whakatane.