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South Pacific islands hit by tsunami swells

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand >> Islands across the South Pacific have been hit by bigger-than-normal waves as the tsunami caused by Japan’s massive earthquake sweeps the ocean, but no major damage has been reported.

Police in Tonga say water surged into a number of houses in the low-lying Ha’apai islands early Saturday morning but did not cause any injuries or significant damage.

Radio Tonga says thousands of people in the capital, Nuku’alofa, sought refuge at the king’s residence on higher ground, though no significant wave activity was reported in the city.

Tidal surges up to 26 inches high were reported in American Samoa, Nauru, Saipan and at the far northern tip of New Zealand.

Officials in many places warned people to stay away from the water.

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