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Kenya on tsunami alert

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – The Meteorological Department has issued a Tsunami alert to people living along the Kenyan coast following an earth quake measuring a magnitude of 8.9 that struck in Eastern Japan early Friday morning.

In a statement, Deputy Director in Charge of Forecasting Services Peter Ambeje said the waves although weak were expected to reach the Kenyan coast by Saturday 4 am.

However, the major adverse impacts of the Tsunami were projected to be confined to the Pacific Ocean but some waves will penetrate through Indonesia into the Indian Ocean.

“By tomorrow (Saturday) at around 4am, the waves are projected to reach the coast of the western Indian Ocean but they will be weak,” Mr Ambeje said.

“People along the Kenyan coast are hence advised to be on the lookout.”

The last Tsunami alert was issued in December 2007 after an 8.2 earthquake struck off the west coast of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.

It killed over 220,000 people in a dozen countries including some 168,000 in the Indonesian province of Aceh alone.

The major adverse impacts of the current Tsunami are however projected to be confined to the Pacific Ocean.

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Meanwhile in Japan at least 40 people were killed and 39 missing in the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake, that unleashed huge tsunamis along its Pacific coast.

The National Police Agency said at least 40 were dead and 39 missing with 244 others injured.

The public broadcaster NHK put the death toll at 44.

"The damage is so enormous that it will take us much time to gather data," an official at the agency said.

Police in Iwate prefecture, near the epicentre, confirmed the deaths of 17 people there.

Among the dead are a 67-year-old man crushed by a wall and an elderly woman killed by a fallen roof, both in the wider Tokyo area, press reports said.

Three were crushed to death when their houses collapsed in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.

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