MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the country’s tsunami alert to Level 2 on Sunday, but government officials assured that there was no need to panic.
“PHIVOLCS Tsunami Alert Level is now 2. The concerned public is advised to be on alert for unusual waves,” Phivolcs said on its website.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum told radio dzMM that the tsunami’s expected arrival is from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday but the incidence of an unusual wave could last even longer.
The waves were not expected to be higher than one meter, and no forced evacuation was in place, the Phivolcs director said.
“Posible po na one meter or less ang darating kaya ang tao mismong nandoon mismo sa dalampasigan ang bahay, malapit na malapit ay dapat umalis muna at pumunta in land, sa mas lupa,” he said.
He said people living in coastal areas in the following provinces fronting the Pacific Ocean should seek higher ground: Batanes Group of Islands, Cagayan, northernmost provinces of 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.
Solidum also warned people against going to the beach and watching the tsunami from the shoreline.
Boat owners, meantime, were told to secure their boats. Solidum noted that boats at sea during the period of the tsunami’s expected arrival should stay offshore until further advised.
Glen Rabonza, executive director of the Office of Civil Defense in Manila, also made this assurance: "We are advising everyone to stay away from the shoreline. But there is no need to panic."
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands with many people living in communities close to the sea.
A 9.5-magnitude quake that struck Chile in 1960 triggered a tsunami that hit the Philippines. Solidum said the range of the wave’s height then was from 3 meters to 6 meters, while the initial tsunami was more than 10 meters high.
This year’s initial tsunami wave from Chile was more than 2 meters high, according to Solidum.
Tsunami alerts canceled
The Philippines raised the tsunami alert level despite the cancelation of the tsunami warning around the Pacific Ocean.
According to the Agence France-Presse, Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled the tsunami warning put in place around the Pacific Ocean, except for Japan and Russia.
The tsunami, which was triggered by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday, has already passed by other areas such as Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.
“This bulletin is issued as advice to government agencies only. National and local government agencies have the authority to make decisions regarding the official state of alert in their area and any actions to be taken in response,” the tsunami warning center said in a statement.