The story appears on

Page A5

October 9, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Warnings of tsunami spark panic in Pacific

THOUSANDS of panicked South Pacific islanders raced away from coastlines after a series of strong earthquakes rocked the region and generated a small tsunami yesterday, just over a week after a massive wave killed 178 people in the Samoas and Tonga.

There were no immediate reports of damage, and tsunami warnings for 11 nations and territories were soon canceled.

But people across the South Pacific took no chances, scrambling up hillsides and maneuvering through traffic-clogged streets to reach higher ground.

"There is panic here, too," Chris McKee, assistant director of the Geophysical Observatory in Papua New Guinea said. "People have rushed out onto the streets and are climbing hills."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a regional tsunami warning after a quake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck 294 kilometers northwest of the Vanuatu island of Santo at a depth of 35 kilometers. Within an hour, two other quakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.3 followed.

The Hawaii-based center canceled the warnings after sea-level readings indicated that the wave generated by the quakes was too small to cause much damage.

A fourth quake of magnitude 7.0 was recorded by the United States Geological Survey nearly 10 hours after the initial quake in the same area northeast of Vanuatu.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage from officials in Vanuatu, a chain of 83 islands. It lies about 2,200 kilometers northeast of Sydney, Australia.

"We felt the quake - it shook the ground, but not very strongly," said a police officer in Luganville on Santo.

In New Caledonia, officials warned residents by text messages. Schools were evacuated along the east coast.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend