Partial evacuation of Chile's Easter Island ordered

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 27 2010 09:53 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2010 05:54 AM

SANTIAGO - A partial evacuation of Easter Island has been ordered in Chile in the face of possible big tidal waves generated by a 8.8 magnitude earthquake, President Michelle Bachelet said Saturday.

"High tidal waves could reach Easter Island," Bachelet said. "Because of that we are evacuating people living in low-lying areas."

About 4,000 people live on Easter Island, which was not directly affected by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit central Chile early Saturday.

But the quake has generated a tsunami that could hit the island, which is part of Chile.

"Sea level readings confirm that a tsunami has been generated which could cause widespread damage," the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Authorities should take "appropriate action," it warned.