Precautions taken as South America remains under tsunami alert

11 March 2011 19:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Authorities in countries on the Pacific coast of South America continued to take precautionary measures against the tsunami expected to arrive after Friday’s earthquake in Japan, according to chemical industry sources and regional media reports.

Industry sources in Colombia said no extraordinary measures were being taken to protect industrial facilities, since these were established on the Caribbean side, rather than the Pacific coast, to take advantage of dominant trade routes. However, the population living on the Pacific coast was being evacuated.

In Ecuador, towns exposed to the tsunami, such as Santa Helena, Manta, Esmeraldas and others, were evacuated, business sources in the country said.

President Rafael Correa declared a “state of exception”, ordering the evacuations with security operations controlled by the armed forces, media reports indicated.

Administrative personnel at the Libertad refinery in Santa Helena has been evacuated, but operations personnel remain on site. The Esmeraldas refinery is outside the area that might be affected by the wave and is operating normally, according to media reports.

Sources in Peru said the caustic soda plant in Callao would shut down for seven or eight hours starting at 16:00 Peru time (21:00 GMT) as a precautionary measure during the event, but was expected to restart immediately thereafter.

In Peru, the marines have been instructed to maintain order in the country.

In Chile, industry sources said a cautious “wait and see” attitude prevails, with no extraordinary measures heard. Authorities alerted the country’s coastal areas of the tsunami, but the population was asked not to alter normal activities, according to media reports.

Sources noted that the population of Easter Island, an area of greater concern, was moved to higher ground.

The waves were expected to reach continental Ecuador by 17:30 Ecuador time (00:30 GMT Saturday). Meanwhile, the Peruvian national tsunami alert system advised that the tsunami would arrive on Friday between 19:00 (00:00 GMT) and 21:00 (02:00 GMT).

By: Ron Coifman
+1 713 525 2653

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