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Powerful 6.4 quake off Vanuatu, no damage reported

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no Pacific-wide tsunami threat was expected from the 6.5-magnitude earthquake, and there was no specific threat to Hawaii (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck near the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu Thursday but there was no tsunami warning or any immediate reports of damage, officials said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit about 143 kilometres (88 miles) southeast of the capital Port Vila at 7:09am local time (2009 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 200 kilometres.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat from the quake.

A spokeswoman for Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office said there were no immediate reports of damage.

“It was a strong magnitude earthquake but it was very deep. Because of that we’re not expecting any destruction,” she told AFP.

Vanuatu is part of the “Ring of Fire,” a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific frequently subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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