Tsunami alert after powerful earthquake hits near Tonga

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By Euronews
The epicentre of the earthquake
The epicentre of the earthquake   -   Copyright  Credit: Euronews

A tsunami warning has been issued after a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit near Tonga in the south Pacific Ocean. 

The tremor struck at a depth of 10 km, about 200 kilometres southeast of Neiafu, a town in the northeast of the archipelago, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

"Dangerous tsunami waves are possible for coasts within 300 km of the earthquake epicentre," said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Seismic activity is relatively frequent around the Tonga archipelago, which has about 100,000 inhabitants spread over 171 islands.

In January, the archipelago was devastated by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, followed by a tsunami.

The eruption of this volcano, about 65 kilometres north of the capital Nuku'alofa, caused a tsunami that affected 85% of the population of the archipelago, according to the United Nations.