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Magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes off coast of Fiji: USGS

A house is seen as strong waves caused by Cyclone Evan wash a beach in Queen Elizabeth Drive, in Suva in this handout picture taken December 17, 2012.
Fiji Ministry of Information handout | Reuters
A house is seen as strong waves caused by Cyclone Evan wash a beach in Queen Elizabeth Drive, in Suva in this handout picture taken December 17, 2012.

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck off the island nation of Fiji on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said late Tuesday.

The quake, which struck at 10:52 a.m. (2152 GMT on Tuesday), was located 175 miles (282 km) southwest Fiji's capital, Suva, at a shallow depth of 9.4 miles (15 km), the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a local tsunami warning and said that hazardous tsunami waves were possible and could strike the coastline of Fiji by 11:45 a.m. (2245 GMT on Tuesday).

"We felt it ever so slightly in Suva," Sune Gudnizt, head of the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Reuters by telephone.

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