SYDNEY - A huge subsea quake struck the southwest Pacific on Thursday, local time, prompting a tsunami warning for island nations only a week after a deadly wave swept over the Samoa islands, killing around 150 people.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the warning for 11 nations, including Papua New Guinea, an oil and gas supplier, and the popular resort islands of Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
The Hawaii-based center also issued a tsunami watch for the wider western Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the nations of American Samoa and Samoa, which were smashed by a tsunami that destroyed whole villages last week.
A spokesman for New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management said it was issuing a tsunami advisory for people not to be on beaches or boats near the coast.
The ministry is awaiting further information before taking further steps, the spokesman said.
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The warning followed a 7.8 magnitude quake 232 miles north-northwest of Vanuatu, at a depth of 20.5 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday, U.S. time.
Vanuatu police in the capital, Port Vila, said they had not felt the quake and there were no immediate reports of sea level rises.
Moments before the Pacific quake, a magnitude 6.7 tremor struck southeast of the Sulu archipelago of the Philippines, which is still mopping up from a typhoon that killed at least 22 people.
(Reporting by World Desk Americas, Michael Perry in Sydney, Adrian Bathgate in Wellington; writing by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Jonathan Standing)