UN monitoring Pacific Rim region after Chile quake

Last Updated: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 00:02

United Nations: Following the massive
earthquake that hit Chile and triggered a Tsunami on Saturday, the
UN is monitoring the Pacific Rim, the region comprising the
countries located around the edge of the vast ocean.

"The Secretary-General is very closely monitoring
developments, including the risk of Pacific Rim tsunamis,
after the huge earthquake in Chile," UN spokesperson, Martin
Nesirky, said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to
those who have lost family and friends and wishes those
injured a speedy recovery," he added.

The US Pacific Warning Centre has confirmed that the
sea level readings indicate that a tsunami has been triggered
that could cause widespread damage.

Earlier, Chilean President Michele Bachelet declared
a "state of catastrophe" in her country that has so far killed
78 people but the death toll is expected to rise.

The 8.8 earthquake shook the capital city, Santiago,
for more than a minute during which buildings collapsed,
electricity went off, and communication lines died.

The earthquake then triggered a Tsunami that poses a
threat to the Pacific rim of fire.

Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Japan have
issued tsunami alerts while other nations monitor the
situation.

California has also warned its coastal cities to
prepare for possible tsunami waves.

Hawaii has already started evacuations from the shore
lines and closing all beaches, according to reports from the
ground.

The Alaska and West Coast Tsunami Warning Center
has issued an advisory for coastal areas of California,
Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

"Persons in the Tsunami advisory areas should move
out of the water off the beach and out of harbors and
marinas," the Tsunami centre said, calling residents to await
instructions from local emergency officials.

The epicentre was 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile`s
second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live.
Due to collapse of communication lines assessing the
damage, at this time, is proving difficult.

"He (Ban) is also seeking to contact the UN`s
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
(ECLAC), which is based in Santiago, for an assessment of the
earthquake and information on UN staff," Nesirky, said.

"The United Nations system, through its Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is on standby to
offer rapid assistance to the Chilean government and people,"
he added.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 00:02

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