February 28, 2010 / 6:37 AM / 10 years ago

Tsunami waves hit Russia, no damage reported

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Tsunami waves of up to 0.8 meters hit Russia’s east coast on Sunday following a major earthquake in Chile, but no damage was reported.

A series of waves hit the Kamchatka Peninsula, northeast of Japan, peaking at around 80 cm (2 ft 7 in), an official at the Sakhalin Tsunami Center said. Waves were continuing to hit the nearby Kuril islands, she said.

The tsunami alert was lifted on the Kamchatka Peninsula, a spokeswoman for the region’s Emergencies Ministry said. “No damage has been reported,” she said.

The volcanic Kamchatka peninsula is Russia’s easternmost region, nine time zones east of Moscow. Heavily militarized during the Soviet Union, it is now a center for mining of platinum, copper, gold and nickel.

Dozens of people were evacuated from coastal homes on the Kuril Islands, the state-run RIA news agency reported, quoting a local official. Most of the residents of the islands live on high land, the official said.

The remote archipelago of sparsely inhabited islands stretches northeast from Japan to the Kamchatka peninsula. Japan claims four of the islands, and the territorial dispute has soured relations with Russia since the Second World War.

A number of boats left ports to take refuge from the waves in the open sea to the west of the islands, an official from the regional administration told RIA.

Japan evacuated hundreds of thousands of people over fears that 3 meter waves could hit. The tsunami was racing across the Pacific from Chile where the 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday, killing more than 300 people.

Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams

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