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Tsunami expected to hit New Zealand

Published: 7:14AM Wednesday September 30, 2009 Source: Reuters/ONE News/Newstalk ZB

The tsunami generated in the Pacific is predicted to hit New Zealand's East Cape at 9.44am and will be approximately one metre high.

Sea level readings indicated a tsunami was generated in the Pacific and Warwick Smith, senior seismologist at GNS, told Breakfast that if there is a tsunami, it will hit the East Cape first at 9.44am.

It would then hit Gisborne at 10.00am, Napier at 10.40am, Wellington at 10.50am and Auckland at 11.12am.

Civil Defence says the tsunami will only be around a metre high with spokesman Vince Cholewa saying it may cause some problems in very low lying areas.

Civil Defence warnings have been issued throughout New Zealand especially for coastal and low-lying areas.

The first wave may not be the largest wave so people are advised not to go to the beach until it is cleared by the local councils.

Samoan reports say the wave that hit in Apia was 0.7 of a metre while the second, larger wave in Pago Pago was measured at 1.7 metres.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs staff are still gathering information on the earthquake and tsunami and a spokesperson says reports remain sketchy and they have had no confirmation of any fatalities in and are awaiting further information.

ONE News has been told that three people have died in Samoa but this has not been officially confirmed.

New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence Director, John Hamilton, says the Ministry has activated the National Crisis Management Centre and is co-ordinating central government response for New Zealand.

The Civil Defence Emergency Management sector is activating its emergency plans.

Regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups are working urgently with local authorities, local emergency services and local media to warn and if necessary evacuate coastal areas at risk.

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management is advising all coastal settlements of the risk, and asking public to keep away from beaches.

Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management is urging people living or working on the Waikato region's coasts to be on high alert for tsunami warning information.

Detailed evacuation advice will come from local authorities and local emergency services and people should keep their radios on at all times.

People should act on it promptly. If told to evacuate they should, where possible, take a radio and cellular phone with them, along with items that are essential for them such as glasses, hearing aid and medicines.

The Civil Defence website is here

TV ONE is broadcasting tsunami information as it happens.