Reverberations from the earthquake that hit Japan – which has killed at least 44 people – have echoed out across the region, with Hawaii ordering evacuations of coastal areas due to the threat of a tidal wave and a tsunami warning being extended to the Pacific basin.
Airports on at least three of the major islands have been shut down as a precaution, and the U.S. Navy has ordered all warships in Pearl Harbor to remain in port.
The evacuation zone included the famous Waikiki Beach, the main hotel and tourist hub in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
Authorities also ordered evacuations from low-lying areas on the U.S. island territory of Guam in the western Pacific, where residents there were urged to move at least 50 feet above sea level and 100 feet inland.
“So far no waves,” Lorilee Crisostomo said, roughly an hour after the tsunami was first due, though forecasters set a four-hour window in which a wave could hit the island.
Guam’s homeland security agency advised tourists in high-rise hotels to take shelter on the sixth floor and above.
“A lot of people who aren’t from Guam are panicking,” said Homeland Security spokeswoman Alyssa Benito, adding, “We’ve never been hit by a major tsunami.”