Tsunami warning in Davao, Leyte, Bicol now at Level 2-A A +A
Friday, March 11, 2011
MANILA (2nd Update, 3:54 p.m.) -- Residents in areas located at the eastern seaboard of the country have been warned of "unusual waves" after state seismologists raised the tsunami alert level to 2 Friday.
The tsunami warning was issued after a powerful magnitude-8.9 earthquake that hit Japan Friday afternoon.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum said all provinces facing the Pacific Ocean are now on alert level 2.
These provinces include Batanes, 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, and Davao del Sur.
Alert level 2, according to Solidum, means residents should be alert for "unusual waves" that may reach at most one meter. The tsunami waves are expected to arrive between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and may not always be the largest.
These waves may continue for hours, said the Phivolcs.
With this, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda announced the immediate evacuation of people living in Batanes and Ilocos Norte, which are expected to be first hit by the tsunami.
The Philippine Coast Guard said vessels cruising areas near the Pacific Ocean are no longer allowed to leave. They were advised to seek shelter.
People are also advised to stay away from the shoreline during this period. Those who houses are very near coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean are strongly advised to go farther inland, said the Phivolcs.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRMMC) is also closely coordinating with the Phivolcs in preparation for the giant waves that will batter the eastern provinces.
Aside from the Philippines, other areas in the world that were placed under a lower tsunami watch were the Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Guam, Micronesia and Hawaii.
The magnitude-8.9 earthquake struck Japan off its northeastern coast 2:46 p.m. Friday (1:46 p.m. Philippine time), triggering a 13-foot (four-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.
It was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later.
In various locations along Japan's coast, TV footage showed severe flooding, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.
In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.
Trains were also stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms in central Tokyo.
Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks.
Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working. Japan's Coast Guard has set up task force and officials are standing by for emergency contingencies, Coast Guard official Yosuke Oi said.
Officials were trying to assess possible damage from the quake but had no immediate details. (Virgil Lopez/AP/Sunnex)