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Tsunami hits Indonesia without causing damage

Indonesia and Guam have both lifted their tsunami warnings, after waves of just 10 centimetres hit the eastern Indonesian coast.

Thousands of people fled their homes in northeastern Indonesia after being warned that a large tsunami triggered by a Japanese earthquake could pound their shores.
Thousands of people fled their homes in northeastern Indonesia after being warned that a large tsunami triggered by a Japanese earthquake could pound their shores.
Image: Press Association Images

THE TSUNAMI WARNING has been lifted in Indonesia after waves of just 10 centimetres reached the country’s eastern coastline.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) have said that no damages have been reported after a the waves hit the coast of North Halmahera in North Maluku, reports the Jakarta Globe.

Guam has also lifted its tsunami alert, but ordered beaches to remain closed across the country until Saturday morning, local time. Kuam News quotes Governor Eddie Calvo, from the Office of Civil Defence, as saying: “I want to thank everyone for their patience tonight. We are so blessed no tsunami affected our island. But, our neighbours in Japan were not so fortunate.”

Professor John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth told TheJournal.ie that the tsunami could pass over the islands without a great deal of damage and even hit the western American coast without causing too much damage - however, he said the strength of the impact was not predictable. “It may well have dissipated by time it hits western America, but events are happening very quickly. The tsunami is travelling at the usual speed of about 600 miles an hour.”

“The damage implications are largely based on the kind of infrastructure that a country has; if the water picks up a large amount of debris it can have a huge impact. A lot of the eastern Pacific countries could be relatively sheltered – although some, like the Marianna and Solomon islands, could be in danger of being submerged if the waves reach over 5 metres.”

Sweeney said that the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan was about 100 times more “energy rich” than the quake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand. He warned that aftershocks could trigger further tsunamis.

In the Philippines, officials ordered an evacuation of coastal communities along the country’s eastern seaboard in expectation of the tsunami. Disaster management officials in the Albay province, southeast of Manila, said they ordered residents to move to designated evacuation sites that are at least 15 feet above sea level.

Australia is  not in danger because it isprotected by island nations to the north, including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, that would largely absorb any wave activity, said Chris Ryan, a forecaster at the National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre – the Australian government agency that monitors the threat.

Additional reporting by AP

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