7.3 magnitude natural disaster strikes off Australia coast

A powerful quake measuring 7.3 has hit off the east coast of New Caledonia triggering a tsunami alert.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck 51 miles east of the Loyalty Islands at 9.43am local time (10.43pm GMT).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said waves as high as one metre above the high-tide mark are forecast to hit New Caledonia and smaller waves are expected in Vanuatu.

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"We are a little bit scared, we have had an natural disaster last night and today it was quite a big one", Wayan Rigault, communications manager at Hotel Nengone Village on the island of Mare, told SBS News.

PTWC has warned of a "dangerous tsunami wave" that may occur on the coast, within 300 kilometer of the epicenter, the Loyalty Islands, with a population of more than 17,000.

"Tsunami waves have been observed", the agency said.

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Although the Australia and New Zealand authorities said there were no tsunami threats to any of these countries.

According to reports, evacuation orders for the coastal regions have not been issued yet.

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