Tsunami Warnings in Effect for Mexico, Latin America


Photo courtesy of Reuters

Following a devastating 8.9 earthquake in the northeastern part of Japan, various media outlets are reporting tsunami warning from Mexico down to South American countries on the Pacific.

Reuters reported earlier Friday that Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru all have tsunami warnings.

A spokespersons for both the Los Cabos and Acapulco tourist boards told Travel Agent that “At this time, officials in both destinations are reporting no direct risk for either Los Cabos or Acapulco regarding the Tsunami warning. No one has been evacuated in either destination but hotels are instructing guests to just be a bit more careful on the beaches today as a precaution.”


According to the analysis completed by specialists at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, BC, the tsunami generated by the 8.9 point earthquake in Japan represents a moderate risk for Mexico.
Towns and cities in the states of northern and southern Baja California could be impacted by waves up to two meters high for periods ranging between one and 12 hours in total. The phenomenon is expected to hit these state shores at 8:44 a.m. local time Saturday (10:44 Central Mexico time).
Other states that could be affected include Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, the size of the waves could reach heights of up to one meter for one-hour periods for the states of Jalisco, Colima and Michoacán and for 30 minutes in the other states. The phenomenon could also last up to 12 hours. The phenomenon’s arrival in the first three states is expected at around 12:44 p.m. Saturday  in the state of Guerrero, and one hour later at 1:44 p.m. in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.


Aeromexico, however, has announced that the airline’s flights AM058 Mexico-Tijuana-Narita, scheduled to depart on March 10, and flight AM057 Narita- Mexico, scheduled to depart on March 12, have been cancelled. Aeromexico will operate a return flight for passengers of flight AM 058 who are in Tijuana and were scheduled to fly to Narita and wish to return to Mexico. This flight departed Tijuana at 7:55 am local time, and arrived in Mexico at 1:10 pm local time.


There is no other information on additional cancellations in Narita Airport. Aeromexico is in constant contact with aeronautic authorities and will be in touch with them to determine when flights to and from Japan will be reactivated.


Travel Agent spoke to Juan Pablo Chovar, North America regional manager for Turismo Chile, and learned that a 2.5-foot wave was expected to hit Easter Island around 4 p.m. Friday. Although the full details have not been confirmed, it appears as though the country will escape any significant damage.


“When you hear there is an earthquake in Japan, you think how it is just across the street from the Pacific, but still very far away from us,” he told us. “Anything that happens in Japan will affect Chile, but very, very slightly.”


Although it looks as though Chile will escape, the country is still preparing for any significant damage.


“We are keeping people updated every two hours and really know how to be prepared for things like this,” he says, referring to the recent 8.8.-magnitude Earthquake that rocked Chile in February of 2010. “We will continue to keep our eyes out, but it looks like it isn’t going to be bad.”

Against the possibility that the tsunami may reach as far as the Galapagos, precautions were taken at 6:30 a.m. this morning to evacuate guests of Red Mangrove Galapagos & Ecuador Lodges to the highlands of each island, Floreana, Isabela, Santa Cruz and Samai, with enough provisions of water and food to pass the emergency. 
Flights to Galapagos today have been cancelled and there is an evacuation order in effect.  All tour boats are required to leave port and be at least five miles offshore.  The local populations were to seek higher ground in the highlands and mid sections of the Islands by noon today.  All shore excursions today have been cancelled.  The Flamingo and Letty, currently with passengers on board, will sail towards Santa Fe Island and stay 15 miles in between the islands. The Galapagos Sky, anchored in Cristobal, will sail offshore and the ERIC is dry docked in Guayaquil. Tour operator, AdventureSmith Explorations reports that all of its travelers are safe and accounted for. Some precautionary evacuations are taking place in Pacific Coastal regions.


Bloomberg.com is reporting that the Pacific Coast of Colombia is on alert, including Buenaventura, the country’s biggest port. According to the report, waves generated by the quake may reach Colombia at 7 p.m. Friday, the nation’s disaster prevention agency said in a statement on its website. Available information so far signals no waves with “dangerous heights” will reach Colombia, according to the statement.

Reuters also reported that Ecuador's state oil company, Petroecuador, said Friday it was suspending the shipment and import of oil products, but there had been no effect on crude exports, due to a tsunami warning on the Pacific coast.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chile’s National Emergency Office will issue bulletins every two hours to keep the Chilean population updated on a possible tsunami. Should a tsunami hit Chilean territory, according the report, it would first reach Easter Island at around 6 p.m. local time on Friday and then move on to continental central Chile at around midnight local time.

Livinginperu.com reports that Lima mayor Susana Villarán will consider the possibility of closing the Costa Verde, the coastal highway along Peru’s capital, due to the tsunami alert currently in effect in Peru and all of Latin America today between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates.



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