A powerful 7.3-magnitude underwater earthquake struck the archipelago of Tonga in the South Pacific. 

The authorities issued a tsunami warning, issuing what in technical jargon is called 'tsunami advisory', just one step below the 'tsunami warning'. 

According to the United States Geological Service (Usgs), a quake measuring 7.3 was recorded 211 kilometers east-southeast of Neiafu, Tonga Island, at a depth of 24.8 kilometers. 

The New Zealand civil protection has made it known with a tweet that it is evaluating the situation to see if it represents "a tsunami threat" for the country. 

"If a tsunami has occurred, it is unlikely to arrive in New Zealand for at least 2 hours," he added.

Fear among the inhabitants who on Twitter document the long queues to get away from the coast.

“Currently we are moving inland and in higher areas”, writes a user from the island of Tonga documenting the situation with a video. 

“The tsunami sirens went off, particularly strong earthquake,” writes another user.  

“Longest earthquake I've felt in my entire life wow!

Stay safe Niue.

Pray for Tonga.

Tsunami warning for Niue! ", Writes another user in reference to the small island of Niue, near that of Tonga. 

In January, an underwater volcano erupted in Tonga, causing three deaths, covering the main island with a thick layer of volcanic ash and shooting millions of tons of water vapor into the atmosphere.