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1st Wave of Tsunami Reaches Hawaii

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The first waves of tsunami driven by earthquake in Chile has begun to affect Hawaii, authorities said on Saturday.

Of Hawaii's eight islands, the Big Island was the first to be hit by the tsunami, according to the federal Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The rise and fall of tsunami waves washed ashore the Hilo Bay on the island just before noon, the center said.

But the extent of the damage was not immediately known.

On the Oahu Island, Civil Defense officials said they are starting to see water fluctuations in waters off Waikiki at about 12:05 PM But soon the water was receding.

Water off Waikiki appears to be receding, a possible sign that a tsunami is on its way.

Officials caution people to stay away from the water until further notice.

Honolulu police and hotel officials are evacuating the streets and beaches in Waikiki, ordering people to go to high floors in Waikiki.

As the tsunami was approaching, tourists were milling on the streets and some stood near the beaches to catch a view of incoming waves.

Four police cars drove slowly down Kalakaua Avenue, urging people to evacuate immediately. "This is not a drill," police said.

Hotel officials, meanwhile, were telling visitors to go to higher floors in high-rise hotels.

Residents should remain alert and cautious, Acting Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.

"They shouldn't relax," Caldwell said. "They should take this very seriously. ... This is the ocean rising. It's going to be pushing things in front of it. It's going to be pushing people. It ' s an extremely deadly situation."

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2010)

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