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Quake prompts evacuation reminder

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/09/2016

East Coast Civil Defence bosses are happy with the way many people looked after themselves during the tsunami warning, but warn those who stayed put were risking others.

Many in Hicks Bay and Te Araroa were quickly out of their beds on Friday morning following the 7.1-magnitude undersea earthquake, which also prompted a tsunami warning that was later cancelled.

"We are pleased with their response and with the way civil defence quickly reacted to the potential for a tsunami after the earthquake north east of Te Araroa," said Tairawhiti controller John Clarke.

However, some had remained in their homes.

The self-evacuating message is given for good reasons, Mr Clarke said in a statement.

"If they don't self-evacuate, they are placing emergency services, civil defence personnel at risk if they have to do house by house checks. People put themselves and their families at risk too.

"It's easy to be wise afterwards, but there is limited time between an earthquake in that vicinity and a potential tsunami. People do need to use their initiative and react quickly."

Friday morning's warning came two days after the national Exercise Tangaroa.

Mr Clarke warned there there was potential for more aftershocks and the situation could change.

The advice remains to stay off the beaches, out of the water and away from rivers, streams and estuaries in vulnerable areas for at least the next 24 hours or until told otherwise.

"We also discourage people from going out in boats."

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