‘Do not stay at home’: Tsunami warning for parts of New Zealand after 8.1-magnitude earthquake

New Zealand’s emergency agency has told people to leave home and reach higher ground after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck the nearby Kermadec Islands region early Friday.

The powerful quake was the third to strike the Pacific nation Friday morning, according to the New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency.

People near the coast must “move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible. Do not stay at home,” the agency states on its website.

The East Coast of the North Island from the Bay of Islands to Whangarei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay including Whakatane and Opotiki and Great Barrier Island are all included in the tsunami warning.

“The earthquake may not have been felt in some of these areas, but evacuation should be immediate as a damaging tsunami is possible,” the agency statement reads.

“People in all other areas who felt a long or strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or lasted longer than a minute, should move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.”

The statement adds that the evacuation notice overrides Covid-19 advisories.

This is a developing story. More to come.