Friday, March 11, 2011

A Repost From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Phivolcs lifts Tsunami alert in PH provinces

By Thea Alberto – March 11th, 2011
AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye

Hotel employees gather at the hotel’s entrance in Tokyo, Japan as an earthquake hits Friday, March 11, 2011. Japan was struck by a magnitude-8.8 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, triggering a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

(UPDATE 5) The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has lifted the tsunami alert for 19 provinces issued earlier Friday, hours after a deadly earthquake struck Japan.

In its latest statement, Phivolcs said the tsunami threat has passed.

“The current trend of observed wave heights suggests that the threat of a hazardous tsunami has passed,” Phivolcs said in its last bulletin.

However, Phivolcs noted that the public is “still advised to avoid going to the beach and sailing out to the sea.”

Boat operators at sea should as well coordinate with port authorities to monitor unusual currents.

Earlier, Phivolcs recorded several tsunamis that measured less than a meter in several provinces from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The highest “unusual wave” was at a maximum of 70 cm.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum had said waves were recorded in the following areas: Santa Ana, Cagayan (60 cm-6:00pm) second wave: 60 cm at 6:20 pm; third wave 40cm-6:50; and 40-cm-7:30 pm); Virac, Catanduanes (First wave-40cm-6:30 pm; Second wave 60cm-7:10 pm; and Third wave-70 cm-7:50 pm); in Infanta, Quezon people have reported seeing waves measuring up to 30cm at around 7:10 pm while a less than a meter wave has also been recorded in Surigao.

In Baler, Aurora, NDRRMC said it recorded the 1st wave, 40 cm-6:30PM. ; second wave at 40 cm-7:10PM; third wave, 30 cm-8:00 pm.

In an interview aired live over radio dzMM, Solidum said they monitored the waves’ pattern and that it might not be the same as Japan’s.

“Doon po sa ating monitoring ang pinakamalakas ay 3rd, 4th, 5th waves pero hindi natin inaasahan kung pattern sa Japan ay mangyayari sa ating bansa. At most one meter and ineexpect nating mga waves,” said Solidum.

In an earlier interview, National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council chief Benito Ramos said no tsunami has hit parts of the Philippines, conflicting Phivolcs’ reports.

Ramos said they are also hoping the waves would lose strength as it travels from the Japan epicenter.

“Ok yung pagdadasal natin sana ay matunaw na sa Pacific Ocean at hindi na makarating yung tsunami dito sa Pilipinas,” Benito earlier said.

Nineteen provinces were placed under Tsunami alert Level 2 for several hours, following the 8.8-magnitude quake that hit Northern Japan. Scores have already been reported killed in Japan.

In its Twitter account, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier advised the public to be “on alert for unusual waves.”

“The concerned public is advised to BE ON ALERT FOR UNUSUAL WAVES. Based on tsunami wave models and early tide gauge records of the tsunami in the Pacific, coastal areas in the Philippine provinces fronting the Pacific Ocean are expected to experience wave heights of at most one meter,” said NDRMMC in a statement.

From Singapore, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III issued a statement appealing for calm but also called on Filipinos to heed the warnings issued by government agencies.

“Paghandaan po natin ang anumang pinsala na maidudulot ng tsunami sa ating mga komuninad. Harinawa po ay maiwasan natin ang pinsala,” Aquino told a press conference aired live by state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

“Hiling natin ang hinahon sa ating mga kababayan,” he added. He also sent his condolences to the earthquake-hit Japan.

NDRMMC had said the first tsunami waves were expected between 5:00PM to 7:00PM Friday. The agency also warned that the “waves may continue for hours.”

“People are advised to stay away from the shoreline during this period. People should not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. People whose houses are very near coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean are strongly advised to go farther inland,” it added.

Earlier, these provinces were placed under alert following the strong earthquake in Northern Japan.

In a bulletin issued, these provinces are under 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

Japan on Friday afternoon registered an 8.8 magnitude earthquake, which NDRRMC said “has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours.”

As of 9 pm Friday, Tsunami waves already hit Hawaii as storm sweeps islands. (READ RELATED STORY HERE)

In an Associated Press report, it said that in Japan’s capital, “large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety.”

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a separate statement that the Philippine Coast Guard has issued a Notice for Mariners, alerting ships and small sea craft about the tsunami alert.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is also closely monitoring the situation in Japan and to ensure the safety and welfare of Filipinos there. Lacierda said people can call this DFA hotline for Japan-related concerns: (632) 834-4646.

Reposted From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

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