Saturday, 27 February 2010

Update: Disaster quake, Tsunami strikes Chile, pacific area

(South African Catholic News Service [SACNS] / News)

Article by Marc Aupiais

At the last update from MSNBC Breaking News: 122 people have been confirmed dead by the president-elect of Chile, due to an Earthquake. Another 3 deaths, 4 missing have since been confirmed dead in Chile's Robinson Crusoe Island, due to waves. CNN has since announced a death rate of at least 147 people. This after what the Associated Press called an 8.8 on the Richter scale earthquake struck the thin, long strip of a Latin American nation, which runs against most of the coastline on the east of the South American Continent. Buildings (including homes of people) were toppled in the quake which struck in the early hours of Saturday Morning in that Time-Zone. Bridges collapsed and vehicles (including trucks) crashed into the earth, according to the Associated Press.

The regional hospital in Concepcion, has been evacuating patients in fear of landslides... Meanwhile a prison in South-Central Chile has been sufficiently damaged, that 209 (Two Hundred and Nine) prisoners have escaped custody.

Much later, a 6.3 earthquake has also hit Chile's neighbour Argentina, near Salta according to MSNBC Breaking News. MSNBC has also noted warnings: the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has noted that new sea level readings indicate that waves "could cause widespread damage". While Damaging the mobile phone network, the Argentinian earthquake seems not a major problem at present.

According to MSNBC Breaking News: residents of Honolulu County, Hawaii had been urged to leave Tsunami Zones prior 10 A.M. Local time, while Hilo airport was closing in Hawaii. Waves are expected to hit Hawaii by 11:19 A.M. Hawaiian Time (4:19 P.M. ET). The Pacific Warning Center warns these waves could last 6 to 10 hours.

The Pacific Warning Center has noted +-4 foot Tsunami waves having already washed against Coquimbo and Valparaiso Chile, according to MSNBC Breaking News. A 7.7 foot wave of a Tsunami had already hit Talcahuano, Chile, as noted a minute prior that.

MSNBC Breaking News also notes that the Pacific Islands: Samoa and American Samoa have warned residents to take shelter due to the Tsunami caused by the Chile quake. Samoa police have issued a nationwide evacuation alert. Officials have warned of possible 7.5 foot waves to soon possibly hit Fiji and Tongo! The U.S. Geological Survey has meanwhile noted the 47th major aftershock, magnitude 5.3, centered at Libertador O'Higgin, the 46th major aftershock, was magnitude 5.5 on the Richter scale, centred off the Bio-Bio shore, while the 28th aftershock of the Chile quake Measuring at 5.2 on the Richter scale, in the Metropolitan region of Chile, and the 29th measuring 5.1 off the strip of a nation's coast. The 27th Aftershock was 5.0 on the Richter Scale, off the shore. This according to MSNBC breaking News.

MSNBC Breaking News notes that the American (USA) state of California has warned coastal cities to prepare for possible Tsunami waves. The surge is forecast to hit California at 13:30 (1:30 P.M.) Local time (16:30 / 4:30 P.M. ET). Tsunami warning sirens have also now sounded across Hawaii according to MSNBC Breaking News. Vessels are also being advised to leave the habour areas in Hawaii. Other American states most at risk include Alaska and California. The American president Barack Obama was expected to comment on the situation at 14:00 (2 P.M.) Eastern Time, according to the White House, said MSNBC. We have just noted this statement, while giving condolences to Chile, Obama focused on America, asking Americans to be cautious and obey state authorities on Tsunami. According to CNN, the US President has warned of hundreds of deaths. The tsunami situation has been called similar to the 2004 Christmas tsunami that killed more than 200,000 in Indonesia according to the USA's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), according to MSNBC.

The Globe and Mail of Canada meanwhile has noted that a Tsunami advisory has been Issued for British Columbia.

Earthquakes are common in the Pacific ocean region, unlike in the Caribbean area where the Haiti Quake struck.

The Earthquake's Tsunami, should affect South, Central and North America, and the Pacific Islands, reaching as far as Japan and Australia, as the hours should pass.

While Catholic Relief Services, known for their effectiveness and praised for their notable effectiveness in nearby Haiti, do not have an office in Chile, they do have staff in Bolivia, which in addition to being their South American relief hub, is Chile's, and Argentina's neighbour in the region. Should their staff be needed they claim that they are poised to assist.

To give to Catholic Relief Services, one of the most effective humanitarian groups in the world, stationed in the Pacific area, visit

CRS has confirmed on their blog that the earthquake was 8.8 on the richter scale. They note the original quake to have hit Concepcion, Chile.

We continue to Monitor the situation via Twitter.

Editorially: you may well offer prayers for the affected!

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