09 January 2005

Experts predict mega-tsunami

Madrid - After the tsunami disaster in Asia, some scientists have claimed that an even bigger catastrophe threatens Spain's Canary Islands, where a volcanic eruption could unleash a mega-tsunami which would flatten the Atlantic seaboard of the United States.

Spanish expert Juan Carlos Carracedo categorically rejects such theories, saying they lack scientific rigour.

"They are completely false and absolutely exaggerated," Carracedo said in a telephone interview from Tenerife. Many leading scientists had denounced such fears years ago, he said.

The theory, defended mainly by Bill McGuire of Britain's Benfield Hazard Research Centre, focuses on the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma Island. The theory postulates that its eruption could cause a gigantic rock to crash into the Atlantic.

That would unleash tsunamis up to 20 times higher than the ones in Asia, according to theories quoted in Spanish press reports.

Wall-like waves would swamp the coasts of southern Europe and Britain and race across the ocean to the United States within seven to 10 hours, devastating everything on their way.

The tsunamis would also affect West Africa, the Caribbean and Brazil, claiming millions of lives.

Meanwhile, Indonesia pulled 7 118 new bodies from the rubble near a shattered beachfront community visited yesterday by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, bringing the confirmed death toll from the Asian tsunami to nearly 150 000.

And in India, the death toll in the disaster passed 10 000 yesterday after more than 300 bodies were recovered in the isolated Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an official said.

From Pretoria, Sapa reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs said 367 South Africans were still unaccounted for yesterday. The department urged people who had escaped to inform the authorities of their whereabouts.

Ten South Africans are confirmed to have died in Thailand, while six are listed as missing, feared dead.


Post a Comment

<< Home