MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) is expecting not just one tsunami wave, but a series of waves to hit the Philippines on Friday evening.
“Sa ngayon ang latest info natin, nakakalagpas na ng konti sa Okinawa yung wave. Twenty meters lang ang na-detect doon sa initial wave,” said Bartolome Bautista, PHIVOLCS Deputy Director, during the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC) press conference on Friday afternoon.
“Hindi pa natin alam yung mga succeeding waves kasi ang tsunami ‘di naman isang wave yan eh, series of waves usually 'yan. P’wedeng malaki ang first wave susundan ng maliit or pwede ring pabaligtad pwedeng mahina yung isa then malaki na ‘yung susunod,” he added.
Bautista, however, said based on the forecasts, the waves reaching the Philippines will be less than a meter.
This prompted them to raise Tsunami Alert level 2 in 19 provinces of the Philippines.
“Ang ibig sabihin ng Alert Level 2, minor lang 'yung tsunami na dadating dito. Hindi siya damaging, hindi siya nakakamatay basta i-observe mo lang ‘yung precautionary measure,” he said.
Bautista said residents included in the alert should stay away from the coastal areas.
“Dapat 'wag pupunta sa mga beaches. ‘Pag inabot ng 1 meter, medyo dangerous pa rin lalo na kung hindi ka marunong lumangoy,” he said.
Bautista said PHIVOLCS has a team stationed in Taiwan which monitors the arrival of the tsunami waves.
“’Pag na-detect natin doon (Taiwan) [in] less than 30 minutes, makakarating na sa Batanes ang waves. Sa Aparri siguro mga 30-45 minutes,” he said.
The PHIVOLCS official said the waves are moving in supersonic speed.
“Singbilis ng jetplane, mga 500-600 kilometers per hour,” said Bautista.
PHIVOLCS is expected to keep the alert level up to 9 p.m. because of “reflected waves” coming from other countries aside from Japan.
“Since may mga reflected waves na pwedeng manggagaling sa kung saan saan ang pinakasafe talaga that mag-antay talaga until na i-cancel natin yung alert level, approximately between 8 pm to 9 pm,” he said.
The devastating 8.9-magnitude quake left many people injured in coastal areas of the main Honshu island and Tokyo.