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Latin American Pacific nations issue tsunami alerts

world Updated: Mar 11, 2011 18:46 IST
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Ecuador ordered preventive coastal evacuations on Friday as Latin American nations along the Pacific coast issued tsunami alerts following the powerful earthquake off Japan.

Reactions to the possible arrival of a giant wave varied in each nation, most of which have experienced devastating earthquakes in the past.

In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa ordered preventive coastal evacuations due to the "imminent threat" of a tsunami. However nearby Colombia only said that authorities were "monitoring" waves.

In Chile -- still jittery after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country in late February 2010 -- President Sebastian Pinera issued a "preventive alert," but told citizens to remain calm and continue normal life.

In Mexico, authorities said that the first tsunami wave was expected to reach its northwestern coastal waters in the Baja California area around 10:00 am local time (1800 GMT).

In Central America, Costa Rica issued a tsunami alert and Honduras declared a "Green Alert," saying that the worst effects would not be felt until later in the day, when children were home from school.

Peru issued a tsunami alert, saying the first wave should reach its coast between 6:00 and 8:00 pm local time (0000 to 0200 GMT Saturday).