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Central America: hard waves but no tsunami after Chile earthquake

SAN JOSE — Costa Rica has been spared from a possible tsunami that officials said could surge through the Pacific following this morning's 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile.

The earthquake struck at 3:34 a.m. (6:34 GMT) 70 miles northeast of Concepcion, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and has killed at least 122 people. The death toll is expected to rise.

"The expansive wave of a tsunami was expected to make an impact on our coasts at 7 a.m. and would move on to Santa Elena, near the border with Nicaragua, at 8:50 a.m.," said a statement from Costa Rica's National Emergency Commission (CNE). But oceanography experts informed the CNE that this possibility has been discarded. However, higher-than-usual waves did crash into the country's Central Pacific coast, the statement said.

Nicaragua reported hard waves crashing in at 9 a.m. on the shores of San Juan del Sur, a hugely popular tourist destination, as well as Puerto Sandino and Corinto, according to Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario.

A tsunami was feared throughout the Pacific, prompting alerts here and in Nicaragua, Mexico, Hawaii, California and Asia.

So far no damage has been reported in this part of Central America.

Peru declared that Monday will be a day of national mourning for Chile's loss, according to the Spanish newswire EFE.

EFE also reported that the European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said the EC is prepared to donate 3 million euros to Chile if needed.

Meanwhile, Washington Post reported at 9 a.m. that the U.S. Military hadn't received requests yet for assistance in a relief effort.

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/costa-rica/100227/central-america-hard-waves-no-tsunami-after-chile-earthquake