Friday, March 11, 2011
Tidal waves from Japan quake reach Mexico
Several hundred people are dead in Japan after this morning’s 8.9-magnitude and a massive tidal wave swept through northeastern parts of the country. The strength of the tremor has led to numerous tsunami alerts being issued by 50 countries along the Pacific Rim including several in Latin America.
A tidal wave hit the northwestern Mexican city of Ensenada but the it was not “higher than the high tide level” according to president Felipe Calderon. A spokesman for the Marines added that the wave of 70 centimeters (27.6 inches) reached the shore at 11:30 am and “did not cause much effect”. Nevertheless, Modesto Ortiz of Ensenada’s Center for Scientific Research warned that subsequent waves reaching Baja California could be as high as one to two meters (3.3 ft. to 6.6 ft.) tall. Additionally, the government early this morning ordered the temporary closing of all activity in Mexican ports located on the Pacific coast.
In Central America, meanwhile, tidal waves are expected to reach the coastline of parts of Guatemala and Panama later this afternoon. Costa Rican authorities do not expect to see a tsunami until 4:00 pm local time, roughly 18 hours since the tremor shook Japan. Classes were suspended for schools located in coastal parts of El Salvador while over 5000 troops and police in Nicaragua were sent to help with civil defense preparations for the upcoming wave.
Regarding South America, the tsunami waves will reportedly hit the coasts of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador during the evening hours. Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa declared a “state of exception” that may include evacuating residents of coastal areas and the Galapagos Islands. A tsunami alert was issued in Peru in anticipation of tidal waves that are expected to arrive there at around 7:30 pm local time. Colombian officials do not expect that waves will be no more than 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall though restrictions have been placed on some swimming and small boat use.
Chilean authorities have put the nation under high alert over the possibility that a tsunami could reach the country’s coast in the early morning hours of Saturday. President Sebastián Piñera urged Chileans to remain calm and continue with their normal routines though some are likely still shaken from the February 2010 tremor and tsunami that killed over 500 people. A “preventive evacuation” is underway on Easter Island and residents will be taken to high ground until the alert is lifted.
Other parts of Latin America may not be under tsunami alert, but they have been affected by today’s events in Japan. Both the Argentine and Venezuelan governments have offered to send humanitarian relief to the Asian country. The Japanese consulate in Curitiba, Brazil has offered additional services and help to expats seeking information about friends and loved ones on their homeland. Puerto Rican emergency services will hold training for a mock tsunami on March 23rd.
Online Sources – Too many to individually list!
Video Source - CNN