12 Mar 2011

Pacific tsunami alerts lifted

8:56 pm on 12 March 2011

No major damage has been reported from Pacific states from high seas in the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunumi in Japan, and alerts had been lifted by Saturday evening.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii has cancelled its tsunami warning for the Pacific Basin following Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan.

Pacific island nations threatened by tsunamis following Japan's earthquake seem to have escaped relatively lightly, according to an international aid agency.

Oxfam Australia said it was unable to get a complete picture of the damage to date but initial reports suggest most Pacific islands remain relatively unscathed.

However, in Papua New Guinea, the Boram Hospital in Wewak was flooded by waves.

About 50 of the hospital's 100 patients were evacuated to a police station where most had to lie outside.

The agency is providing tarpaulins, food and water to patients and said heavy rain in the area posed concerns about sanitation.

In Bougainville, 20 people from the coastal village of Kobuan were evacuated after their homes were pounded by waves.

In the Solomon Islands, water reportedly reached 50 metres inland, destroying at least one home and washing canoes away.

In the Marquesas islands sirens blared, warning residents to flee to higher ground. Although waves up to 3 metres were forecast they were less than 1 metre when they arrived, but still flooded some houses reports AAP.

Reports from Tahiti say at waves inundated beachfront gardens at the Papenoo surf beach.

Samoa, Tonga

The meteorological office in Tonga says it has recorded waves between 60cm and 90cm.

Thousands of people in the capital Nuku'alofa sought refuge at the King's residence, which is on elevated land.

Samoa experienced a surge of 30cm along its northern coastline.

In American Samoa, there were fluctuations in the tides, and waves washed into parking lots in Pago Pago, but the tsunami alert has been lifted.

The government of Kiribati called off its tsunami warning on Saturday morning just minutes before the wave was due to arrive.

In Nauru, a 20cm wave has been recorded, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

Saipan, in the Northern Marianas, experienced a 1 metre wave.

Thousands of residents in low-lying areas on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota in the Northern Marianas were evacuated to higher ground.

The authorities on the US island territory of Guam in the western Pacific ordered the evacuation of low-lying areas.

Residents were told to move to ground at least 15 metres above sea level and 30 metres inland.