Tsunami warning after strong quake off Papua New Guinea: USGS

BREAKING It hit in the east of the nation

A powerful quake has stuck Papua New Guinea, triggering a tsunami alert for coastal areas up to 1,000km away.

"Based on current information, the initial assessment is that the quake is unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will affect New Zealand".

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

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management told 1 NEWS the natural disaster was assessed by GNS Science as having no tsunami threat to New Zealand.

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

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Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched teams in the Pacific island nation's New Britain province to monitor remote communities for casualties and assess the extent of damage after a powerful, shallow natural disaster rattled coastal towns. It said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or Guam.

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".

Police Sergeant Frank Kilaur told Reuters the quake was "very strong and shook the whole place up". We will have some more reports, probably in the morning, so we will wait.

An alert for tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter above the tide level was issued for some coasts of Papua New Guinea.

Earthquakes in the mountainous nation, which is on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", do rarely cause damage or casualties because many structures in the region are light and flexible.

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