Tsunami alert level 1 raised in PH after South Pacific quake

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

MANILA (Updated) -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised tsunami alert level 1 on Wednesday morning after the magnitude 8.0 earthquake off Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

Under this alert level, no evacuation order is in effect but communities along the east coast of the country are advised to wait for further information and to prepare for possible evacuation.

Coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean of the following provinces should keep watch: Batanes Group of Islands, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Quezon, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur.

Phivolcs said it is monitoring the sea level changes in the epicentral area and will relay significant observations to concerned authorities.

According to the agency, the earthquake occurred near Santa Cruz Island at 9:12 a.m. (Philippine Time) with depth of 33 kilometers and a preliminary magnitude of 8.0.

"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours," Phivolcs said in an update.

Wire reports stated that a small tsunami measuring 0.9 meters or three feet hit the Solomon Islands after the tremor. There are no reports yet of damage or casualty.

It added that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii will monitor sea level gauges nearest the region and report if any tsunami wave activity is observed.

For its part, the Philippine Coast Guard asked mariners who might be traversing the eastern side of the Philippines to be vigilant.

Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman, said they are also prepared to respond to any damage that may be caused by a possible tsunami. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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