Tsunami Warning

10:59 AM:

Dear Wardens

This warden message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu that a tsunami warning for ANUATU / SOLOMON IS. / NAURU / PAPUA NEW GUINEA / TUVALU /  NEW CALEDONIA / FIJI / KIRIBATI / KOSRAE / WALLIS-FUTUNA / HOWLAND-BAKER

A tsunami watch is in effect for  MARSHALL IS. / TOKELAU / KERMADEC IS / POHNPEI / NEW ZEALAND /  SAMOA / AMERICAN SAMOA / TONGA / AUSTRALIA / NIUE / COOK ISLANDS / CHUUK / INDONESIA / WAKE IS. / JARVIS IS. / PALMYRA IS. / GUAM / N. MARIANAS / JOHNSTON IS. / YAP /  MARCUS IS. / BELAU The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the situation, and will issue updated messages. U.S. citizens are urged to locate shelter, monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions. U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents at all time (i.e. U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate, picture ID’s, etc.) or secure them in safe, waterproof locations. We also suggest that American citizens contact friends and family in the United States with updates about their whereabouts.

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While in the Ogea area a tsunami warning was issued (above is the email warning I received after the fact).  Usually I am living at 2,000 to 5,000 feet but this week I just happened to be in coastal Madang.  The village I was visiting was very close to the ocean and many people were gathering their possessions and heading to their gardens further inland.  It is amazing how fast news can travel thanks to the wantok system (literally one-talk: meaning your extended friends and relatives) and to cell phones (not all areas of PNG but most of Madang has very good coverage).  As soon as the warning was issued even the more remote areas received the news because their wantoks were able to just call and pass on the warning.  Unfortunately, not just the warning but sometimes panic and confusion were also passed along.  Madang town itself actually sits in a very protected harbor but there are villages scattered up and down the coastal areas so the potential danger is varied depending on where you happen to be but the threat of a tsunami is nevertheless frightening.  In the end the warning was lifted and peace was restored (below is the email I received an hour later lifting the warning).

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12:08 PM:

We have been advised that the tsunami warning and/or watch issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is now cancelled but would recommend that you continue to monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions in your specific region.

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