Philippines warns of tsunami, orders evacuations after Taiwan quake

By AFP   April 2, 2024 | 07:05 pm PT
Philippines warns of tsunami, orders evacuations after Taiwan quake
A beach on Boracay Island of the Philippines. Photo by Unsplash/charlesdeluvio
The Philippines warned of "high tsunami waves" and called for the evacuation of coastal areas in the country's north on Wednesday, lowering an earlier warning after a major quake struck neighboring Taiwan.

"The people in the coastal areas of the following provinces are strongly advised to immediately evacuate to higher grounds or move farther inland," the state seismology institute said in an advisory.

Coastal areas in the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Isabela "are expected to experience high tsunami waves" based on tsunami wave models, it added.

Those areas of the main island of Luzon are lightly populated.

The magnitude 7.4 quake struck Taiwan's east before 0000 GMT, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Tsunami warnings were also issued in Taiwan and Japan.

On Itbayat island municipality, which is part of Batanes province and is about 350 kilometers (217 miles) south of the epicenter of the quake, residents were unbothered by the tsunami warning.

"We do not need to evacuate anyone because no one here lives below 100 meters above the waterline," police Corporal Jerome Estoy told AFP.

"We did not feel the earthquake but we saw the tsunami advisory."

Estoy said local fishermen had been warned "to be careful" but were allowed to go out to sea, and normal inter-island ferry services were operating.

The seismological agency corrected an earlier advisory that said 23 provinces would be affected by the tsunami. It does not affect the capital Manila.

"They must evacuate to higher grounds. The standard is at least 10 meters (32 feet) from the coastal area (is safe)," Herminio Guzman of the seismology agency said.

The first tsunami waves were expected to hit between 0033 GMT and 0233 GMT which "may not be the largest and these waves may continue for hours," the advisory said.

"Owners of boats in harbors, estuaries, or shallow coastal water of the above-mentioned provinces should secure their boats and move away from the waterfront," it said.

"Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised."

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