Photo: Japan hit by 8.9 magnitude earthquake, Tsunami alerts out for Central, South American, US, and Canada
The Chilean Government has officially issued a tsunami alert effective immediately, and has started evacuating “flood zones” near the coast, as well as the whole Easter Island. Officials estimate that waves could reach more than 7 feet, and urge the population to evacuate within the next 3 to 5 hours.
In the meantime, Japan has warned of a malfunction in the cooling system of the Nuclear reactor in the 480-megawatt Fukushima No. 1 plant in Fukushima Prefecture, where the level of radioactivity has already exceeded 1,000 times the normal amount; authorities fear a meltdown, and have ordered the evacuation of all personel, and civilians in a 6 mile radius. They plan to release “semi-radioactive” steam to the atmosphere, in order to relieve the pressure inside the reactor, and avoid further complications.
As Chile prepares for the incoming tsunami, officials have just alerted the people that the waves are expected to reach the Easter Island shores earlier than expected. Luckily, there are no schools on the island.
In Colombia, 16 different municipalities have been put on alert, though no one is being evacuated yet.
President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency Friday and ordered evacuation of the Galapagos Islands as well as the people in the country’s coastal provinces. The alert will be in effect for as long as 60 days.
As parts of Japan are still in disaster after a horrific 8.9 magnitude earthquake, countries in South and Central American and around the world are alerting their coastal residents that they are at risk of being hit by a tsunami caused by this morning’s earthquake.
In Colombia, President Juan Santos said Friday that the government was making plans to notify residents of the tsunami risks along its western oceanic coast.
“We lament this tragedy and express solidarity with Japan,” Santos said in a statement. “We’re watching out for our countrymen and will be informing them regarding any impact on our Pacific coast.”
In Japan, the 8.9 magnitude quake caused 10- meter waves, and sadly, police have already reported that 200 to 300 bodies have been found. Later, 7-meter waves hit
Tsunami warnings were issued for countries including Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.
U.S. President Barack Obama released the following statement:
“Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy. We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Paciﬁc going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local ofﬁcials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. states and territories that could be affected.”