Tahiti on Tsunami Alert..UPDATE! Tsunami hits Tahiti

Tahiti on Tsunami Alert..UPDATE! Tsunami hits Tahiti

Papeete : French Polynesia | Feb 27, 2010 at 9:28 AM PST
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Low lying resorts in Tahiti, South Pacific

French Polynesia is comprised of many low lying islands spread like green jewels in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. A tsunami warning has been issued for these islands in the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake this morning. Most the news seems to only speak of Hawaii and Australia and New Zealand. The Marguesas, the Tuamoto atolls and Tahiti itself will be reached first by any of these waves. STAY AWAY from the BEACHES!

PAPEETE, French Polynesia — Tsunami waves up to 6 feet (2 meters) high have struck parts of French Polynesia, but no damage was immediately reported.

Residents were being warned early Sunday morning that tsunamis can consist of several waves and they should remain vigilant.

Tonga and the Cook Islands were evacuating coastal areas as the waves were expected to hit later in the morning.

On Tahiti, traffic was banned on roads less than 500 meters from sea. Residents on islands of low elevation were told to get to high ground.

AND some other South Pacific news about the Tsunami;

A tsunami alert is in force in the Pacific following an 8.8 eathquake in Chile.

Several smaller waves have reached French Polynesia.

There are no reports of any damage.

RFO radio in Papeete reports that a wave less than one metre high has passed the east of the Gambier islands.

In Rikitea, several smaller waves are reported to have passed, ranging from 50 to 80 centimetres in height.

In Rapa, the sea is reported to drop and rise about every 30 minutes.

In Tahiti, the first waves are expected at about 7:50 local time

All road traffic closer than 500 metres to the shore is forbidden.

The authorities warn that the tsunami could be as high as two metres in the Marquesas islands and on Rurutu in the Austral islands.

People are advised to seek ground at least 10 metres high.

An Air Tahiti Nui plane due to arrive in Papeete from Tokyo has been diverted to Hawaii.

A Paris-bound flight has been brought forward by one hour.

In the Cook Islands, people have moved inland.

The country is already under pressure after several cyclones in recent weeks.

The first wave is expected to hit American Samoa at 8:51 local time.

The Acting Governor Faoa Aitofele Sunia has urged the public not to panic but to go about their preparations calmly.

He has asked that people not all rush up to Aoloau as there was already heavy traffic heading in that direction.

He says the villages of Iliili, Malaeimi and Pavaiai need not move as these areas were in elevated zones.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

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Tahiti, French Polynesia
Andy Mathisen is based in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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