A tsunami warning has been issued by officials in several countries across the Pacific Ocean after a massive magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea early Monday morning. According to the Washington Post, officials have warned several nations about tsunami waves that could affect several countries across the Pacific in the hours to come.
Initial reports say that the magnitude 7.7 earthquake happened at a depth of 65 kilometers (40 miles). The epicenter of the earthquake has been reported to be an area around 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of the town of Kokopo in northeastern Papua New Guinea, according to CNN. This is as per data received from the U.S. Geological Survey.
The tsunami warning, however, has been issued by the Pacific tsunami Warning Center, which in a press release said that the earthquake was strong enough to generate a hazardous tsunami that could reach coastlines located within 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) of Kokopo. This would put the islands of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands under threat. The tsunami waves generated by this earthquake could go up to 10 feet in height, the release added.
Meanwhile, officials are assessing the kind of damage that the massive earthquake could have caused in Papua New Guinea. As of now, there have been no reports of damages or casualties from the interior parts of the country. According to Martin Mose, acting director of Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Center, even after an hour following the quake, there have been no visual signs of tsunami waves. Nevertheless, as long as the tsunami alert remains, they are on constant vigil. However, he did add that the overall situation in the coastal areas “seems to be under control at this stage.”
Other countries in the area that could see small tsunami waves of up to one foot in height include Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and even Hawaii. Since Hawaii is pretty far away, the tsunami waves are expected to weaken and would take several hours to reach the islands.
Tsunami warnings in coastal regions across Asia and the Asia-Pacific are taken with utmost seriousness after two major tsunamis in 2004 and 2011 claimed several lives in the area. The 2004 tsunami, one of the worst natural disasters of all time, claimed the lives of over 100,000 people in several Southeast Asian countries. The 2011 Japanese tsunami, while not as deadly as the 2004 tsunami, affected Japan very badly and left thousands dead.
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