Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

VIDEO: Pacific killer tsunami alert over - nuclear plant blast alarm

See video

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Item: 7325

PAPE’ETE: Many South Pacific countries and territories have lifted tsunami warnings after Japan's catastrophic 8.9 magnitude earthquake, but Tahiti ordered many residents to stay ashore.

In Hawai'i, Pacific Media Centre correspondent Ana Currie reports the tsunami caused considerable coastal destruction on the "Big Island" but there were no reported casualties.

The death toll from Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake reached 1700 on Sunday, with the toll likely to rise to well over 10,000 as some areas suffered devastating damage, according to the National Police Agency.

Japan declared emergencies at two crippled nuclear power plants. An explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triggered what could be one of the world's worst nuclear accidents and an evacuation of 170,000 people in the region.

A government official warned that a meltdown was "highly possible" in one of the three reactors at Fukushima, 270km north-east of Tokyo.

French Polynesia's High Commission said in a statement that waves prompted by the quake's impact were "moderate" in most areas, although a road was submerged in Papenoo — a popular surfing shore on the north coast of the main island of Tahiti Nui — and waves were higher than usual in the area.

Tracking the Japanese tsunami in the Pacific. Image: US Geological Science site: www.usgs.govThe authorities warned that a tsunami could cause damage hours after the passage of the first wave, and said "all marine activities remain forbidden until new orders, in all archipelagoes of French Polynesia."

Associated Press reports the statement warned residents to stay away from the shore.

Authorities issued a tsunami alert on Friday for all of French Polynesia and New Caledonia, and sprawling territories of many island clusters.

The commission later lifted the alert for some islands, and the High Commission in New Caledonia said residents could return to undamaged houses after the waves had passed.

Waves reach NZ
Radio New Zealand reports tsunami waves have reached New Zealand and increased in size to up to half a metre.

Civil Defence says the first arrival at Raoul Island in the Kermadecs was recorded at 6.35am on Saturday and the first waves at North Cape at 7.10am.

The initial waves were 15cm high but have subsequently increased in size to up to 40cm, with some harbours reporting amplitudes of up to 50cm and tidal surges.

The biggest waves are expected in the period from about 11am to 1pm, the Civil Defence advisory said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said 20 New Zealanders were unaccounted for in quake-hit areas in Japan.

In Tonga,  the Met Office recorded waves up to a metre high.

The director of the office, Ofa Fa’anunu, said so far three waves had been detected.

Thousands of people in the capital Nuku’alofa sought refuge at the King’s residence, Radio NZI reports.

Samoa’s Radio 2AP reported the tsunami warning was lifted at 6am with no reports of flooding.

An Air Pacific flight scheduled to leave for Hawai’i last night was cancelled.

In American Samoa, the National Weather Service said there was a 40 cm surge in Pago Pago Harbour at 4 am this morning and a half a meter surge at 5am.

StarKist Samoa cannery has also cancelled production and workers have been told to stay home but to prepare to work tomorrow, which is normally a day off.

Classes at all public and Catholic schools were cancelled.

The government of Kiribati called off its tsunami warning just minutes before the wave was due to arrive.

The Secretary to the President, Tangitang Kauieata, said the government had been advised by the Pacific Tsunami Center that the low lying country no longer faced a threat.

Pacific island nations spared

Tsunami strikes Hawai'i Island

Rugby coach in Tokyo tells of quake shock

Japan declares emergencies at two crippled nuclear power plants

Backgrounder: Nuclear emergency is worst in decades

Backgrounder: Is the tsunami too big to beat?

Video: The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant explosion







PMC profile photograph

Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
(cc) Creative Commons


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.