Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fresh quakes renew tsunami fears for Pacific

From Reuters ad 4:27 pm Pacific time.
YDNEY (Reuters) - Pacific nations braced for a fresh tsunami on Thursday after two huge subsea quakes struck the region, sending islanders fleeing for higher ground, only a week after a series of deadly tsunamis devastated the Samoa islands.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the warning for 11 nations, including Papua New Guinea, an oil and gas supplier, and the popular resort islands of Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

The Hawaii-based center also issued a tsunami watch for the wider western Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the nations of American Samoa and Samoa, where about 150 people were killed by a series of tsunamis last week.
Authorities in New Caledonia, a French territory, were evacuating people from the island's eastern shore and from the nearby Loyalty Islands to higher ground, local police said.
A police spokesman in the capital, Noumea, said the nation was bracing for a tsunami to hit around 11:15 a.m. local time on Thursday (0015 GMT or 8:15p.m. EDT).

The Hawaii-based tsunami warning center said it was still evaluating whether to raise a Pacific-wide warning after two subsea quakes struck between Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, one measuring 7.8 magnitude and the other 7.3.

"An evaluation of the Pacific-wide tsunami threat is underway and there is a possibility that Hawaii could be elevated to a watch or warning status," the center said.

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