Tsunamis to hit Philippines 1 to 2:30 pm Sunday

Posted at 02/27/10 5:50 PM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) -- The first wave of tsunamis generated by the massive earthquake which hit Chile on Saturday will hit the Philippines at 1-2.:30 p.m. on Sunday.

"The estimated arrival time of the first tsunami waves is between 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (Philippine Time) on 28 February 2010 (Sunday afternoon)," the Phivolcs said in its 11:30 pm bulletin posted on Saturday.

Dr. Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), told radio dzMM early Sunday that alert level 1 was still up over the eastern coast of the Philippines.

He said Phivolcs is not yet recommending an evacuation of eastern coastal communities since they have not yet established how high the tsunamis will be.

As of posting time, he said the tsunamis that have hit some parts of Chile were only 1 to 2 meters high.

Eastern coastal communities

Based on the Phivolcs advisory, the following "coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean that should keep watch" are:

Batanes Group of Islands                 
Ilocos Norte                                        


Camarines Norte                              
Camarines Sur                                  

Northern Samar
Eastern Samnar
Southern Leyte

Surigao del Norte
Surigao del Sur
Davao Oriental
Davao del Sur

"While Tsunami Alert Level 1 means that no evacuation order is in effect, communities along the identified coasts are advised to prepare for possible evacuation. People from threatened communities are strongly advised to coordinate and follow safety instructions from the Office of Civil Defense and local disaster officials," Phivolcs said.

Solidum said a powerful earthquake that hit Chile in 1960 generated tsunamis in the Philippines 24 hours after the quake.

The tsunamis were 3 meters high in Luzon, and around 6 meters in Visayas and Mindanao. Solidum described these as not so high.

He said this may happen again with the magnitude 8.8 quake that hit Chile on Saturday.

Aurora Gov. Bellaflor Angara Castillo told dzMM early Sunday that the mayors of the province have been informed about the tsunami warning and that their contingency plans are already activate.
Evacuation centers and transportation are being prepared, she said. Hopefully, "our preparations will be sufficient," she added

Precautionary alert

“Bilang pag-iingat, nagpalabas ang Phivolcs-DOST ng Tsunami Alert Level No. 1 kaninang 3:10 p.m. na ang ibig sabihin kailangang maghanda ang ating mga kababayan,” Solidum told dzMM Saturday afternoon.

("As a precaution, Phivolcs-DOST issued a Tsunami Alert Level No. 1 this 3:10 p.m. to advise the public to be ready.")

The Phivolcs director said the issuance of an alert is just part of their standard operating procedure every time there is a tsunami.

“Ito po ay standard operating procedure natin na kung magkaroon ng malaking earthquake na may abilidad na magdulot ng tsunami dito sa atin, ay nagtataas tayo ng Alert Level 1 para abiso sa ating mga kababayan. Nage-evacuate po tayo pag itinaas natin sa Alert Level No. 3 na tsunami alert,” he said.

("This is a standard operating procedure that when there’s a big earthquake that could bring tsunami to us, we issue Alert Level 1 to advise the public. We only order evacuation when we raise Alert Level No. 3).

In 1960, Chile was hit by the world's biggest earthquake since records dating back to 1900, USGS data shows. The 9.5 magnitude quake devastated the south-central city of Valdivia, killing 1,655 people and sending a tsunami which battered Easter Island 2,300 miles off Chile's Pacific seaboard and continued as far as Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines.

Solidum also said that the earthquake in Chile is not in anyway connected to the recent tremors that hit General Santos City, Butuan City and even Japan.

“Iba-iba ang dahilan ng pagkilos ng mga faults at mga bloke ng mga bato sa ating bansa (there are different reasons for the sudden movements of faults in our country,” he said.

The Phivolcs said that a magnitude 5.3 struck 76 kilometers southeast of General Santos City in South Cotabato province at 12:18 a.m. Saturday.

A shallow magnitude 3.3 also struck 30 kilometers northeast off Butuan City in Agusan del Norte province at 3:35 a.m.

A strong earthquake also hit Japan's southern island of Okinawa. The US Geological Survey said the 7.3 magnitude quake struck at 5:31 a.m. Saturday 52 miles east of the island's capital of Naha, a city of about 320,000 about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) south of Tokyo. -- With reports from Reuters and Agence France-Presse