Chile quake death toll exceeds 300, tsunami threats across Pacific (3)

16:15, February 28, 2010      

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Residents in 19 provinces facing the Pacific in the Philippines have been urged to move to higher grounds, as the tsunami is expected within hours.

The first tsunami waves are expected to arrive between 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. local time (0500 GMT and 0630 GMT). These waves may continue for hours, Phivolcs said.

People are advised to stay away from the shoreline during this period, and should not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. Boats in harbors, estuaries or shallow coastal waters were urged to return to shore.

Hundreds of residents in the east coast of Mindanao in southern Philippines have moved to higher grounds.

Waves hit the coastal area in the village of Kidalapong, forcing at least 100 people to evacuate to higher grounds, Inquierer.net quoted Victorina Mendez, police chief of Malita in Davao Del Sur, as saying.

The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said Sunday that the Pacific Tsunami Alert Center does not include Indonesia among Asia-Pacific countries affected by the Chilean earthquake.

On its website, the center paints Papua, Indonesia's easternmost territory that faces the Pacific, green, as an indication that an area is safe from the impacts of the tsunami.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center on Saturday lifted a tsunami warning for Hawaii which "dodged a bullet" as tsunami waves passed by.

"We clearly had a tsunami in the water and we had to evacuate," said Gerard Fryer of the center, adding it looks like Hawaii "dodged a bullet" since the worst seemed to have passed.

Governor Linda Lingle said Hawaii escaped the tsunami unscathed.

The authorities received no report of damage in any county, said Lingle, calling it "a great day now that it's over."

The first waves of tsunami triggered by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile began to affect Hawaii just before noon, slightly later than predicted.

However, the tsunami warning center said more waves could follow.

Experts urged people to remain cautious as the following waves of tsunami, which are unpredictable and can last for hours, may be more powerful than the first ones.


More than 300 people have been reportedly killed in Chile after a 8.8-magnitude megaquake hit the country on Saturday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


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