Tsunami alert spreads across Pacific
Published 11/03/2011 | 08:56
The major earthquake off Japan's north-eastern coast has triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific.
The Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii has widened its original alert to include Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific Ocean.
Alerts were issued as far apart as Australia and New Zealand, Mexico and Central and South America, the Philippines and Taiwan, off the Chinese mainland.
Any tsunami would take several hours to travel across 6,100km of ocean from Japan to Hawaii.
The estimated time of arrival was put at around 1pm Irish time.
The authorities in the US state, which has been hit by tsunamis in the past, have well-drilled procedures in the case of alerts.
Many of the holidaymakers in Hawaii now facing the tsunami warning are from Japan.
Authorities on Russia's far-eastern Sakhalin Island and nearby territories have evacuated some 11,000 residents from coastal areas in anticipation of tsunami waves unleashed by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake off Japan.
Officials in the Philippines have ordered the evacuation of coastal communities along the country's eastern coast in expectation of a tsunami following the quake.
Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Institute director Renato Solidum said the first 3ft high waves are expected to hit the northern-most Batanes islands by 5pm (9am GMT).