MANILA, Philippines - A massive forced evacuation among residents in the country’s Eastern Seaboard is underway following an Alert Level 2 Tsunami warning by disaster authorities Friday evening after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan earlier.
<p>Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo also called on all local government units (LGUs) near coastal areas to cooperate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
<p>Robredo said this during a press briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
<p>Robredo also asked LGUs to immediately convene their respective local disaster risk management councils to prepare the necessary disaster prevention and mitigation mechanisms hours after the temblor.
<p>Robredo met with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, NDRMMC executive director Benito Ramos, PNP chief Director Raul Bacalzo and AFP chief of staff Ricardo Oban.
<p>“The recent quake in Japan which is very near the Philippines should prompt coastal LGUs to prepare and brace for any eventuality to ensure the safety of our people,” said Robredo.
<p>Robredo made the call even as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) issued a tsunami alert on all provinces facing the Pacific Ocean, particularly those on the eastern coast of the country
<p>On alert level 2 are the provinces of Batanes, 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.
<p>Alert Level 2 means that residents living near shorelines should move to higher grounds and all shipping vessels are prevented from sailing.
<p>Robredo also urged LGUs to identify possible evacuation centers and prepare relief goods should the sea level rise abnormally.
<p>He also advised the people living near shorelines to go farther inland and to be on alert for possible sudden rise of sea waves.
<p>“We do not want to sound like alarmists, but it is better to be safe than be sorry later on,” said Robredo.
<p>The DILG Secretary also enjoined concerned LGUs to coordinate with the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine National Police who can help them during rescue and evacuation efforts.
<p>Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday that triggered a 13-foot tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.
<p>The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii also earlier issued a tsunami watch for Guam, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia and the US State of Hawaii.
<p>Meanwhile, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Richard Gordon has alerted all PRC chapters, staff and volunteers to be on standby following the tragedy that struck Japan.
<p>Earlier, Gordon sent letter to the Japanese Red Cross assuring the National Society that PRC will be at its disposal for any assistance it may need to meet the emergency situation.
<p>The PRC chapters nationwide warned the public to take precautionary measures as PHIVOLCS raised Tsunami alert to level 2.
<p>Residents were advised to avoid coastal areas, stay off shorelines and immediately move to higher ground.
<p>The PRC rescue, first aid and disaster management teams are now on standby, ready for dispatch anytime the need arises.
<p>The PRC Social Services has also activated its tracing services to assist relatives of OFWs in Japan.