Japan’s Tsunami Reaches Into South America

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A man stands next to the border fence separating Mexico and the U.S. at the beach in Tijuana, March 11, 2011. (Reuters photo)

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Mar. 14, 2011: Tsunami waves from Japan’s natural disaster of Friday, March 11th has had some effect even on the continent of South America.

In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa reported “minimum damage” from the tsunami as storm surge hit the island of San Cristobal in Ecuador’s Galapagos Island chain 1,000km west of the mainland and caused some flooding.

In Peru, civil defense officials about 300 houses in the southern port of Pisco suffered damages as the the ocean surged into the town square. And in the town of Pueblo Nuevo de Colan, in the far northern Piura region, the ocean withdrew 200 metres from the beach before returning with force and destroying several seaside homes, mayor Raymundo Dioses said.

The first tsunami waves measured nearly 1.5 meters at their highest when they hit.

Mexico reported waves up to 70 centimeters above normal but no damage or victims.

Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called the crisis the country’s toughest challenge since World War II. Reports say the 8.9 earthquake and 30 foot tsunami that hit the country could claim over 10,000 lives.

The earthquake triggered fires and caused severe damage to buildings, leaving five million households without electricity and 1 million without water. The damage caused to the Fukushima nuclear power plant has resulted in serious concerns.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said Sunday that a hydrogen explosion occurred at Unit 3 of the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The blast was similar to an earlier one at a different unit of the facility. More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area.

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