An earthquake with a magnitude of 8 was generated in the Vanuatu region at around 10am this morning prompting a tsunami warning for countries nearby.

Latest reports by Fiji Times Online state that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert at 10.17 for Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati, Kosrae. Wallis-Futuna and Howland-Baker.

The bulletin was issued as advice to government agencies. Only national and local government agencies have the authority to make decisions regarding the official state of alert in their area, it said.

"It is not known that a tsunami was generated. This warning is based on earthquake evaluation," the bulletin said.

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a tsunami that can strike coastline near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastline within hours.

"Authorities should take appropriate action in response to this possibility."
It said a tsunami is a series of waves and the time between successive waves can be five minutes to one hour.

According to Fijilive, Fiji's senior seismologist Lasarusa Vuetibau stated that the earthquake "is just as strong as the one in Samoa last week that caused the devastating tsunami".

Vuetibau said that large waves generated by the earthquake are also expected in the Solomon Island, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey the epicentre of the quake was located 232 miles (373 km) north-northwest of Santo, Vanuatu, at a depth of 20.5 miles (33 km).

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

According to Fiji Times Online, Fiji is on alert for a possible tsunami arrival time of 12.37 though it is unclear whether a tsunami has been generated as yet.

According to the tsunami message issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, a tsunami advisory has been issued for Hawaii and parts of the Pacific located closer to the earthquake.

For the link to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, please look below.