Manila - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) director Renato Solidum announced on Friday that the first tsunami waves caused by the 8.9 earthquake that hit the northern part of Japan has entered the Philippine area of responsibility.
According to the Philippine Star, the first tsunami wave arrived along the coastline of the city of San Vicente in the northern province of Cagayan at 6:00 pm local time. The wave was measured to have a height of 60 cm (approximately 1.97 feet). Waves measuring about 40 centimeters (approx. 1.31 feet) were also reportedly seen along the coasts of Baler in the province of Aurora around 6:30 pm.
The highest recorded tsunami wave was measured to be at a height of 70 centimeters (approx. 2.30 feet). The wave was spotted along the coasts of Virac in the province of Catanduanes at 7:50pm local time.
PHILVOCS has reported that the waves hit the Philippine shores in intervals ranging between 15 and 20 minutes.
Despite the rather low measurements of the tsunami waves hitting the country, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDCC) Executive Director Benito T. Ramos said that the tsunami alert will not yet be lifted from the country.
"We will have to wait for further advancements before we bring the alert level back to zero," he told reporters. "There is little chance for a big (wave) hit to happen. But we will continue to monitor until tomorrow. Until we get the clearance from PHILVOCS, we will continue to be on alert."
At a news conference, Solidum stated that he expects two more waves to hit the Philippines, pointing to the six waves that hit the Okinawa station as the basis for his claim. He further explained that the tsunami alert can only be safely be lifted at least two hours after the last wave hits Philippine shores. He estimates that the alert will be lifted by 10:00pm local time.
Meanwhile, regional health facilities and offices remain in Code White alert in order to ensure that a substantial supply of medical supplies and equipment are at hand to treat victims of tsunami waves, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Residents who were evacuated from coastal towns have been advised to still remain inland until the alert has lifted.
The Philippines is just one of the many countries within the Pacific region where tsunami alerts were raised after the massive earthquake that hit Japan at around 2:00 pm local time.
Source: Digital Journal
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