Moscow, April 2 (RIA-Novosti) – A tsunami that was triggered by a massive 8.5-magnitude quake off the northern Chilean coast could hit the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East, the Russian national emergency agency warned Wednesday.
“The Kuril coast sprawls for about 14,000km. But despite its location far away [from the epicenter], analysts from the Tsunami Center predict that tsunami waves [less than a meter high] may approach the Pacific coast of the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka’s eastern coast,” the warning by the Russian National Emergency Agency said.
The Russian emergency authority tried to appease fears, saying there was but a slim chance that the waves could do extensive damage.
According to the Emergency Ministry’s Far East office, an official warning for the region will be issued once the killer wave is halfway across the Pacific and reaches California and Hawaii.
The earthquake struck late on Tuesday, prompting large-scale evacuations all along Chile’s Pacific coast for fear of killer waves. At least five people have reportedly lost their lives due to heart attacks or were crushed to death by debris. Hundreds of thousands of Chileans had to spend the night away from their beds following the tsunami warning.
A tsunami warning was announced for the Hawaii at 5:45 p.m. local time. A major wave is not expected, but the local advisory center cautioned the population about strong currents that could be hazardous to swimmers and people living on the coast.
The wave that hit overnight 99km northwest of Iquique in northern Chile is said to have been two meters high. It disrupted power lines and prompted the government to evacuate thousands. About 300 inmates also escaped a female prison in the wake of the disaster.