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Powerful earthquake hits off northeast coast of New Zealand

New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said it was still assessing whether the quake had triggered a tsunami that could affect the country

This picture has been used for representational purpose

A shallow, powerful earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of New Zealand on Thursday, with officials warning of a possible tsunami threat. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said it was still assessing whether the quake had triggered a tsunami that could affect the country. It measured the quake at magnitude 7.3. It advised people near the coast to immediately move to high ground if they felt strong or long shaking.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured a preliminary 6.9 magnitude and was centered at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles) about 178 kilometers (111 miles) northeast of the city of Gisborne. Residents of Gisborne reported light to moderate shaking, it said.

A magnitude 6.3 quake hit the city of Christchurch in 2011, killing 185 people and destroying much of its downtown.

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