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Tsunami heads to Hawaii after Canada quake

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Tsunami heads to Hawaii after Canada quake
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Los Angeles: A potentially destructive Pacific tsunami was headed toward the US state of Hawaii early today after a powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Canada, triggering calls for urgent action to protect lives.

"Basically this tsunami is pointed right at us," Gerard Fryer, senior geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told CNN International. "It's not just one wave, it's a succession of waves... We are recommending coastal evacuation."

The expected arrival time of the tsunami was 1330 IST today.

Initially, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no "destructive widespread tsunami threat" after the quake shook the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada.

But later it issued a warning, saying a tsunami had been generated by the earthquake and that it was headed toward Hawaii.

The tsunami "could cause damage along the coastline of all islands in the state of Hawaii," the center said, adding that "urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property."

Sirens were reported to be blaring across the archipelago.

"Initial reports indicate that a wave of around three feet (one meter) is anticipated, with Kahului likely to be impacted by a larger wave, possibly up to six feet (two meters)," Honolulu's KITV

The epicenter of the Canadian quake, which occurred at 0830 IST today was located 139 kilometres south of the town of Masset, the US Geological Survey said.

Numerous aftershocks, some as strong as magnitude 4.6, followed the initial quake, Canadian officials reported.

Emergency officials in British Columbia urged residents in low-lying coastal areas to be alert to instructions from local officials and be prepared to move to higher ground.

"The tsunami alarm went off and everybody went to the evacuation site," Danny Escott, owner of the Escott Sportfishing lodge near Masset, told AFP by telephone.

But officials in Canada sought to calm the population.

"We would not be expecting any widespread damage or inundation," Kelli Kryzanowski of Emergency Management British Columbia told reporters during a teleconference.

Natural Resources Canada said in a statement that the quake was felt across much of north-central British Columbia, including Haida Gwaii as the Queen Charlotte Islands are also called, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston.

PTI

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