Fresh damage found in Tonga after quake

Strong aftershocks rattled Tonga on Friday, the day after a massive earthquake damaged buildings and triggered tsunami warnings from Hawaii to New Zealand.

No damage or injuries were reported from the latest quakes, with magnitudes of 6.0, 5.7 and 5.4, to hit the South Pacific nation and no tsunami warning was issued. But they came as authorities from outlying islands began reporting damage from the 7.8 magnitude tremor that struck in the early hours of Thursday.

A hospital and several other buildings in Tonga's Ha'apai island group were badly damaged, officials said.

Severe cracks in the main walls of Nui'ui Hospital could mean its patients will have to be moved out, Ha'apai Governor Malu Po said.

"The cracks are pretty serious, all over the building," Po told The Associated Press.

"They are still deciding whether it's safe to continue using the hospital," he said, adding his first impression of the damage was "there's no way they can continue using it."

Thursday's major quake prompted a regional warning center in Hawaii to issue a tsunami alert, but an official said Friday that Tonga was inadvertently left off the list, along with three other Pacific nations, of countries to warn about the possibility of a killer wave bearing down on them.

Officials had earlier said Tonga, which was closest to the epicenter, apparently did not receive a tsunami alert because of a power failure, reports the AP.


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