Residents of Severo-Kurilsk, a small Russian town with a population of just over 2,500 on the northern end of the Kuril Islands, were evacuated to safety after the earthquake triggered a tsunami warning.
“The safety of the people is the most important for us. It is necessary to make sure that there are no people in the area that may be affected by the wave,” Sakhalin Region Governor Valery Limarenko said as he announced the evacuation on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the earthquake shook the town.
Residents of the town, which is 30m (100ft) above sea level, were led to higher ground. Students and staff of a nursery and a school are among the evacuated.
The 50-meter (164 feet) wave hit the island around 3:15pm local time, leaving no casualties or property damage, the regional emergency services said in their initial report. They warned residents to stay in safe areas due to the threat of a potential second wave.
The tsunami was triggered by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck 210km (130 miles) off Severo-Kurilsk on Wednesday afternoon. The tremor reportedly lasted for up to 20 minutes before it stopped.
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