25 Nov 2009

'No tsunami' assurance after latest Tongan quake

9:29 pm on 25 November 2009

The meteorological service in Tonga was inundated with calls after a powerful earthquake early on Wednesday morning.

The epicentre of the 6.8 quake was 135km east-northeast of Nuku'alofa at a depth of 61km, according to the US Geological Survey's website. It struck at 2.47am local time.

Residents in the capital said their homes rattled when the quake struck, and some people ran into the streets in panic.

Tonga was one of three South Pacific nations hit by a tsunami after an 8.0 quake in September, in which 186 people died.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported shortly after the latest shake that there was no threat of a destructive, widespread tsunami.

But Memiasi Havea from Tonga's met service says it has still been fielding calls from worried people.