SAN FRANCISCO/QUITO - Thousands of
people fled their homes along the Pacific coast of North and
South America on Friday as a tsunami triggered by Japan's
massive earthquake reached the region but spared it from major
The giant wall of water lost much of its energy as it
roared thousands of miles (km) across the Pacific Ocean,
although many governments took no chances, ordering large-scale
evacuations of coastal areas, ports and refineries.
The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center downgraded
the situation in California from a tsunami "warning" to an
"advisory," and fears of a catastrophe proved unfounded.