New Zealand tsunami advisory to remain overnight

09:23, March 01, 2010      

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A tsunami advisory will remain in place for New Zealand overnight, the Civil Defense authorities said on Sunday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii on Sunday afternoon canceled the warning for New Zealand, following Saturday 's 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, which has killed at least 300 people.

New Zealanders were warned on Sunday to keep away from beaches amid fears a massive surge of water could come ashore.

New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management on Sunday afternoon downgraded the warning for New Zealand to advisory status, which would remain in place overnight and be reviewed at 08:00 a.m. Monday.

Wave action of up to 1 meter continued to show on tidal gauges across the east coast of the North and South Islands and the Chatham Islands, without any indication of that height decreasing, the ministry said.

The first waves hit New Zealand about 08:00 a.m. Sunday (19:00 GMT Saturday) and the Chatham Islands and Banks Peninsula could still expect waves between 1 and 3 meters.

The situation continued to pose a risk to people in boats and on beaches for coastal communities and people should continue to stay off beaches and out of waterways, the ministry said.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Sunday the government would provide assistance to earthquake-shattered Chile if requested.

"I am shocked by the devastation in Chile and would like to convey my sincere condolences," he said.

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