Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tsunami waves graze Latin America's Pacific coast

The above video slideshow from Ecuador’s El Universo provides a glimpse at some of the damage from yesterday’s tidal wave on the Galapagos Islands.

Approximately 1000 people are dead and at least 10,000 missing in Japan as a result of Friday’s massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami. While the tidal wave caused a heartbreaking amount of death and destruction in that Asian country, Latin American states along the Pacific Ocean dodged a major bullet.
  • Mexico
As we mentioned yesterday, waves measuring 70 centimeters (27.6 inches) reached the Baja California peninsula. Officials in other states removed their tsunami alerts despite waves of 1 meter (3 feet) reaching areas such as Guerrero and Oaxaca.
  • Central America
Several countries such as Panama and Honduras suspended their tsunami wave alerts last night after small tidal waves of reached the region’s coast. In El Salvador, for instance, the wave increase was “almost null” though most residents in coastal areas heeded warnings to say away from beaches and ports.
  • Peru
The country’s coast was hit last night with tidal waves measuring between 20 and 40 centimeters (7.9 to 15.8 inches) tall. They caused little material damage though there was one fatality after a man fell to his death at a beach south of Lima.
  • Chile
Waves measuring no higher than 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) hit Easter Island last night though this morning President Sebastian Pinera ordered that the tsunami alert is lifted for that area. The alert remains for the Chilean mainland; thus, delaying the return of tens of thousands of residents evacuated from low-lying coastal areas hours before the tsunami reached land.
  • Ecuador
The lone area that appeared to be hit hard by the tsunami was the Galapagos Islands. A “train of waves” hit the coastline of the islands and flooded several piers and nearby streets. In one instance according to local officials the bottom of the sea could be seen after the surf retreated 30 meters (9.8 feet) and then washed onto the coast. No major damage or fatalities were reported and President Rafael Correa removed the emergency “state of exception” originally declared Friday morning.

The effect of the tidal wave in the Americas paled in comparison to the devastation in Japan. Yet people in the Americas such did not take any chances as governments issued warnings and alerts while most residents in coastal areas heeded them. As the saying goes: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Video Source – El Universo via YouTube
Online Sources- Too many to individually list.

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