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A week of Earthquakes in the Asia Pacific region

This week has seen three earthquakes in the region. The first occurring on the 8th Feb off PNG near the Solomon Islands, its epicentre was 94 kilometres southwest of Bougainville and it measured a 6.8 magnitude. Although no tsunami warning was issued locals have been told to prepare for aftershocks.

The second occurred in Indonesia on the 12th Feb. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.5 magnitude and said it was centered about 94 kilometers west of Waingapu, a coastal town on Sumba island, with a depth of 30 kilometers. Information on damage and injuries was not available due to communication problems. Rescuers were being sent by sea to the area. The quake was also felt on the tourist destination of Lombok island in neighbouring West Nusatenggara province, causing people run out of houses and buildings in panic.

The third occurring on Valentine’s Day, 14th Feb near Christchurch NZ, several people have been injured and a cliff has collapsed into the sea on New Zealand’s South Island after the magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck. It was centred 15km east of Christchurch and was 31km deep. Christchurch is still rebuilding following a devastating earthquake in 2011.

Geonet rated the quake as severe. It was one of the largest since 2011 and people from across the South Island reported feeling the ground shaking. Aftershocks of magnitude 3.5 continued to rumble across the city during the afternoon.

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Neil Bibby was Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority between 2002 and 2009 and Managing Director People and Innovation