TSUNAMI SCARE SENDS PEOPLE TO THE HILLS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 2, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---Panic hit Papua New Guinea coastal towns Sunday and yesterday after a tsunami alert issued by the National Disaster Management Office sent people heading for the hills.

But the tsunami warning was withdrawn yesterday, at the same time as the Geophysical Observatory said there had been no recent earthquakes capable of causing a tsunami in the Western Pacific ocean.

People in Wewak and Kokopo were seen packing essential goods and heading for safety in the hills on Sunday night.

Patients and staff at one coastal hospital were reported to have panicked at hearing of the alert and were preparing to leave when cooler heads prevailed.

It was reported that the alert was spurred by a report from the PNG High Commission in Canberra. It said it had been told of an earthquake off Taiwan and that there was the possibility of a tsunami headed PNG’s way.

In 1998 a tsunami killed more than 2,000 Papua New Guineans when it hit coastal villages at the Aitape area.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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