Killer tsunami

Hun­dreds feared dead in Ja­pan

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page -

HAWAII and other parts of the Pa­cific in­clud­ing the US west­ern coast were last night brac­ing for disas­ter af­ter a de­struc­tive t s un­ami and earth­quake hit Ja­pan.

Waves about half a me­tre high hit Wake Is­land in the North­ern Pa­cific, with waves near t wo me­tres hit­ting Hawaii s o o n a f t e r , s a i d Ger­ard Fryer, a geo­physi­cist f or t he Pa­cific Tsunami Warn­ing Cen­tre.

Res­i­dents in coastal ar­eas a c r o s s t he Paci f i c f r o m Hawaii to Guam were or­dered to evac­u­ate to shel­ters a n d h i g h e r g r o u n d . I n Hawaii’s tourist district of Waikiki, vis­i­tors were be­ing moved to higher floors of t h e i r h o t e l s . R e s i d e n t s waited in long lines stock­ing up on gas, bot­tled wa­ter, canned food and gen­er­a­tors.

‘‘ We’re pre­par­ing for the worst and we’re pray­ing for the best,’’ said John Cum­mings III, spokesman for the Honolulu Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment.

Tsunamis can travel at speeds of 800km/ h, as fast as a jet­liner. The warn­ings is­sued by the Hawaii-based Pa­cific Tsunami Warn­ing Cen­tre cover an area stretch­ing the en­tire west­ern coast of the United States and Canada from the Mex­i­can bor­der to Chig­nik Bay in Alaska.

In Alaska, a dozen small c o m m u n i t i e s a l o n g t h e Aleu­tian Is­land chain were on alert.

‘‘ Ev­ery­one in that area knows, when you feel it, move – don’t wait for a siren,’’ said John Mad­den, di­rec­tor of the Alaska Divi­sion of Home­land Se­cu­rity and Emer­gency Man­age­ment. The largest af­fected town is Unalaska, pop­u­la­tion about 4000.

The tsunami was ex­pected to hit the North­ern Mar­i­ana Is­lands, a US ter­ri­tory last night but no big waves came.

Waves near a me­tre high hit the beach in Saipan, and sirens still sounded in the empty streets.

Maria Met­tao, who works

March 11, 2011: A mag­ni­tude 8.9 quake strikes off the north­east coast of Ja­pan, send­ing a tsunami across the Pa­cific and killing a stil­lun­de­ter­mined num­ber of peo­ple.

Oc­to­ber 2010: A vol­canic erup­tion and a tsunami kill more than 500 peo­ple in In­done­sia.

Fe­bru­ary 2010: An 8.8 mag­ni­tude quake shakes Chile, gen­er­at­ing a tsunami and killing 524 peo­ple.

Septem­ber 2009: A mag­ni­tude 8.0 earth­quake un­leashes tsunamis of up to 12 me­tres and killing 194 peo­ple in the South Pa­cific, in­clud­ing 34 in Amer­i­can Samoa.

Septem­ber 2007: A 7.8 mag­ni­tude earth­quake rat­tles Su­ma­tra is­land, trig­ger­ing re­gional tsunami alerts and dam­ag­ing scores of build­ings.

Septem­ber 2007: An earth­quake mea­sured at a mag­ni­tude of 8.4 near Su­ma­tra trig­gers a wave in the coastal city of Padang. The tremor kills at least 25 peo­ple and in­jures around 50.

April 2007: At least 28 peo­ple in the Solomon Is­lands die in a tsunami and earth­quake mea­sured at a mag­ni­tude of 8.1.

July 2006: A mag­ni­tude 6.1 earth­quake trig­gers a tsunami off Java is­land’s south­ern coast, killing at least 600 peo­ple.

March 2005: A mag­ni­tude 8.6 quake in north­ern Su­ma­tra kills about 1300 peo­ple.

De­cem­ber 2004: An In­dian Ocean tsunami, which is trig­gered by a mag­ni­tude 9.0 tiv­ity, said Chris Ryan, a fore­caster at the Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal and Oceanographic Cen­tre, the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment agency that mon­i­tors the threat.

The warn­ing was is­sued on Thurs­day at 9.31pm yes­ter­day. Sirens were sounded about 30 min­utes later in Honolulu alert­ing peo­ple in coastal ar­eas to evac­u­ate. earth­quake, kills a shock­ing 230,000 in a dozen coun­tries.

Au­gust 1976: A mag­ni­tude 8.0 earth­quake hits near the is­lands of Min­danao and Sulu in the Philip­pines, gen­er­at­ing a tsunami and leav­ing at least 5000 dead.

March 1964: A 9.2 mag­ni­tude earth­quake in Prince Wil­liam Sound, Alaska, kills 131 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 128 from a tsunami.

May 1960: A mag­ni­tude 9.5 earth­quake in south­ern Chile and en­su­ing tsunami kill at least 1716 peo­ple.

Novem­ber 1952: A mag­ni­tude 9.0 quake in Kam­chatka causes dam­age but no re­ported deaths de­spite set­ting off 9.1-me­tre waves in Hawaii.

Au­gust 1950: A mag­ni­tude 8.6 earth­quake in Assam, Ti­bet, kills at least 780 peo­ple.

April 1946: An earth­quake mea­sured at a mag­ni­tude of 8.1 near Un­i­mak Is­lands, Alaska, trig­gers a tsunami, killing 165 peo­ple, mostly in Hawaii.

Jan­uary 1906: A mag­ni­tude 8.8 quake off the coast of Ecuador and Colom­bia gen­er­ates a tsunami that kills at least 500 peo­ple.

Au­gust 1868: A mag­ni­tude 9.0 quake in Arica, Peru ( now Chile) gen­er­ates cat­a­strophic tsunamis; more than 25,000 peo­ple were killed in South Amer­ica.

Sources: US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, In­cor­po­rated Re­search In­sti­tu­tions for Seis­mol­ogy and WHO’s In­ter­na­tional Disas­ter Data­base About 70 per cent of Hawaii’s 1.4 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion re­sides in Honolulu, and as many as 100,000 tourists are in the city on any given day.

Honolulu’s Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment has cre­ated refuge ar­eas at com­mu­nity cen­ters and schools, and authorities on Kauai i s l a n d h a v e o p e n e d 1 1 schools to serve as shel­ters.

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