7 Mar 2010

Australia to review tsunami alert

5:48 am on 7 March 2010

Tsunami warnings in Australia are to be reviewed after many beachgoers shrugged off alerts following the huge earthquake in Chile last weekend.

Lifeguards struggled to clear beaches in Queensland and New South Wales on Sunday as people either returned to the water or came down to watch the tsunami arrive.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said police and emergency services may be used in future.

Pacific states were on alert after the quake, but most were unaffected.

The BBC reports that waves that reached Australia's east coast were hardly noticeable.

Mr McClelland described the response to the tsunami warning as "disappointing, but understandable".

He has asked state emergency ministers and surf life-saving clubs in New South Wales and Queensland to review the reaction and look at ways of educating the public about tsunamis.

Hundreds of people are still missing in Chile after the magnitude 8.8 earthquake at 3.34am on 27 February. The official death toll has been reduced to 452 from 800.