Tsunami Alert Level 2 was raised in the Philippines Sunday morning after a powerful 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile on the other side of the Pacific Ocean Saturday afternoon.
Initial reports said the powerful quake killed at least 214 people and also set off a tsunami as high as 1.29 meters off the Pacific Ocean.
The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has initially hoisted Alert Level 1 Saturday. But after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center sea level monitoring stations confirmed the ocurence of a tsunami, Phivolcs raised it to Alert Level 2 Sunday morning.
Phivolcs said, based on tsunami wave models and early tide gauge records of the tsunami in the Pacific, coastal areas in Philippine provinces fronting the Pacific Ocean are expected to experience wave heights of at most one meter.
Phivolcs said the first tsunami waves will arrive between 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM Sunday afternoon and may not always be the largest. These waves may continue for hours.
Phivolcs advised people 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.
Phivolcs also advised people, especially those living near the shoreline, to be on alert for unusual waves, sudden sea water retreat or rise, and rumbling sound of approaching waves.
Boats in harbors, estuaries or shallow coastal water should return to shore. Secure their boat and move away from the waterfront. Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised.
Phivolcs identified 19 areas along the east coast of the Philippines as areas of concern: 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, and Davao del Sur.
Philvocs said people living in these areas should wait for any further announcements from Phivolcs and prepare for possible evacuation once Alert Level 3 is raised.
Meanwhile, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center has alerted its regional centers to carefully monitor the situation in the coastal areas facing the Pacific.