French South Pacific eases tsunami alert

AP News
Posted: Mar 11, 2011 3:44 PM
French South Pacific eases tsunami alert

France has lifted a tsunami alert for some of its South Pacific islands after Japan's huge earthquake, but is still ordering many residents to stay ashore.

French Polynesia's high commission said in a statement that waves prompted by the quake's impact were "moderate" in most areas, although a road was submerged in Papenoo _ a popular surfing shore on the north coast of Tahiti _ and waves were higher than usual in the area.

The authorities warned that a tsunami can cause damage hours after the passage of the first wave, and said "all marine activities remain forbidden until new orders, in all archipelagoes of French Polynesia."

The statement warned residents to stay away from the shore.

Authorities issued a tsunami alert earlier Friday for all of French Polynesia and New Caledonia, and sprawling territories of many island clusters.

The commission later lifted the alert for some islands, and the high commission in New Caledonia said residents could return to undamaged houses after the waves had passed.