Tsunami warning issued after 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the island, tsunami sirens did not sound

Last Thursday night, the island experienced a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. 

Shortly after the tremor, a tsunami warning was issued for both Niue and Tonga at 11:49 PM the same evening prompting residents who lived near the lower coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground safely away from the sea. 

Those who had the benefit of social media received the warning on the government’s social media platform promptly and took action, while others who were unaware felt the quake but took no note of the warning which followed after. 

Radio Sunshine was also on air after midnight until 3AM providing regular updates and warnings to the general public of the tsunami threat that was in effect for Niue and Tonga. 

Despite the vivid warnings made online, on air and by word of mouth, it was very unfortunate that the tsunami sirens meant to sound a warning of an incoming tsunami threat, which were stationed throughout the west coast of the island, were not useful. 

The sirens did not sound any warning during this time. The only siren that sounded was from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) vehicle. 

At 12:43AM, early Friday morning, another issued statement warned that Niue was still in the threat of a tsunami. 

It was estimated that the tsunami waves could reach 0.3m to 1m above tide level for the island with a depth of 33km. 

Most residents of the lower coastal areas found refuge on higher ground, particularly at the airport and the Paliati schools. 

Unaware of how long the warning would remain in effect with frantic locals and tourists alike, it shortly subsided when it was notified at 1:35AM that the tsunami warning was lifted and cancelled. 

There was no longer a threat of a tsunami. 

It was still advised that residents and visitors alike remain observant and exercise normal caution and refrain from marine and coastal activities for the time being.

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