A Pacific tsunami alert initially issued after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Fiji late in the night local time has been lifted. The shallow quake struck at 10.52am, the US Geological Survey said. The epicenter of the tremor was 227km off Fiji's southern shores, at a depth of 10km. Fiji's Mineral Resources Department issued a tsunami warning early Wednesday morning, leading to emergency evacuation of hotels in the tourist belt along the Coral Coast, Mamanuca and Yasawa.
A Pacific Tsunami alert was immediately issued by the authorities but it was later withdrawn. "There is no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake ... Remain observant and exercise normal caution near the sea. Otherwise... no action is required," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said. "Minor sea level fluctuations may occur in some coastal areas near the earthquake over the next few hours," it added.
Fiji Sun reported that desks and computers shook for a good 10 seconds as the quake struck. No serious damage has been reported yet. However, heavy traffic jams were reported as people tried to exit the urban areas in large numbers. People were also spotted walking uphill fearing the tsunami waves.
In New Zealand, Civil Defence said there was no tsunami threat to the country. "There is no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the 7.2M earthquake south of Fiji at 10:53am NZ time," the agency tweeted.
Earlier, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued the warning as the tremor was shallow. "Government agencies responsible for threatened coastal areas should take action to inform and instruct any coastal populations at risk in accordance with their own evaluation procedures and the level of threat."
The centre later withdrew the warning even as the quake's intensity was marked down to magnitude 6.9.