At least three massive earthquakes struck New Zealand on Friday, sparking a tsunami warning and evacuation orders for coastal areas.
The most recent was a powerful magnitude 8.0 quake that struck at around 8:30 a.m. local time in the waters off the Kermadec Islands.
It came about two hours after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the same region.
Many New Zealanders were shaken awake by an earlier 7.2 magnitude quake that struck at 2:27 a.m., off the North Island’s east coast.
Some 60,000 people across the country felt that tremor, with many describing the shaking as “severe,” according to Reuters.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency issued a tsunami warning for the country’s coastal areas.
Officials also urged people in certain parts of the East Coast of the North Island to immediately move to higher ground.
There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.
“Hope everyone is ok out there – especially on the East Coast who would have felt the full force of that earthquake,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Instagram.
In 2011, a magnitude 6.3 quake hit the city of Christchurch, killing 185 people and destroying much of its downtown.
With Post wires