Powerful Earthquake Hits in Papua New Guinea, Triggers Tsunami Alert

The shallow quake occurred 44km north-east of Kokopo in Papua New Guinea

Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said: 'Hazardous tsunami waves from this natural disaster are possible within 1,000km of the epicentre along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands'.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said unsafe tsunami waves were possible within 1,000km of the quake's epicentre along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, before later saying the threat had passed. "However... based on all available data... there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii".

The U.S. Geological Survey meanwhile recorded the magnitude of the quake at 5.5, which struck off the coast of Kokopo.

Kokopo town has a rapidly grown population of more than 20,000.

But the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and GNS Science said the quake, which happened at 12.58am on Wednesday, New Zealand time, did not pose a tsunami threat to New Zealand.

"MCDEM has assessed the information with the assistance of science advisors".

In a final message, the PTWC said "no tsunami waves were observed at the closest sea level gagues, however here are no sea level gauges near the epicenter".

There were no initial reports of serious damage but the full picture may not become clear until daylight. We will have some more reports, probably in the morning, so we will wait.

Police Sergeant Frank Kilaur described the tremor as "very strong". "We are OK here", he said.

The quake hit just 25k miles from Kokopo, the capital of the island of East New Britain, in the east of the Pacific nation.

A magnitude 7.5 quake in 2018 in the nation's central region killed at least 125 people.

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