Sydney, Australia: Terrified villagers fled to higher ground for fear of a tsunami. After a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck off. The coast of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu late on Sunday.
The epicenter of the violent earthquake was in the sea off the northern bay of Espiritu Santo. The largest island, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the archipelago’s capital, Port Vila.
Kayson Por, a 22-year-old student from the Hog Harbor village of Espiritu Santo. Said he was on the beach looking for crabs with half a dozen friends when the earth shook.
“It was huge,” Por told AFP by telephone.
He said, we were right in the sea, we were looking for crabs on the shore
“We ran for our lives and then we ran home.”
At his home in the village of about 1,000 people. The quake knocked things to the ground, breaking kitchen cups, Porre said.
Fearing a tsunami inundation, he added, “People were moving to higher ground.”
But Por said he did not see any structural damage to his village home.
The shallow earthquake struck at 11:30 p.m. local time (1230 GMT) at a depth of about 27 kilometers (17 miles), according to the US Geological Survey. Which placed it about 25 kilometers from the village of Espiritu Santo in Port-Ollari.
Natasha Joel, a receptionist at the capital’s Grand Hotel and Casino. Said people could feel the quake as far away as Port Vila on Itafe Island.
‘A big one!’
The NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said, “Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meter above tide level are possible for some coasts of Vanuatu.”
Waves smaller than 0.3 meters were possible for New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, it added.
The French Embassy in Vanuatu advised to stay away from the coast in a post on their official Facebook page.
Locals reported the damage on social media.
“A big one!!” A person posted on Facebook. “A lot of things are broken all around.”
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said there is no tsunami threat in their country.
Vanuatu is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. Where tectonic plates collide and experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity.
The Solomon Islands, an island nation north of Vanuatu, was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in November. Although there were no reports of serious injuries or major structural damage.
In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and next tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi left more than 4,300 people dead or missing.
According to the annual World Risks Report, Vanuatu is ranked. As one of the most susceptible countries to natural disasters such as earthquakes, storm damage, floods and tsunamis.