Following an 8.3 magnitude earthquake centred off the coast of Chile, South America yesterday afternoon (CI time) Cook Islands Meteorology Service said wave action could hit Rarotonga at 12.43am, Penrhyn at 1.47am and Pukapuka at 2.20am.
Cook Islands Police Commissioner Maara Tetava set up the national command centre following the warning and called on Cook Islanders not to be complacent.
“We’ve had earthquakes in the past that took place in Chile and the impact on the Cook Islands has been very minimal if anything,” he said at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
“But I do not want members of the public to be complacent about this one. We need to be prepared and as of now, we’ve activated our national command and coordination centre and it will be fully staffed 24/7.”
Tetava said the centre was receiving hourly reports from police officers from the Pa Enua and would continue that until they got notification from the met service that the country was ‘no longer under threat’.
Tetava said waves of over four metres had hit the coast of Chile, but the prediction in the Cook Islands was for waves of less than a metre.
In the event the warning was ramped up, Tetava said he would be giving regular radio and television updates and asked for people to follow the designated tsunami road signs to higher ground.