Filipinos move from coastal areas on tsunami risk

March 11, 2011 12:44

MANILA - Hundreds of people in coastal areas in three northern Philippine provinces started moving to higher ground on Friday after the government upgraded its tsunami alert, although there was no official evacuation order.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised its tsunami alert to level 2, advising people to stay away from shorelines in eastern coastal areas after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in northeastern Japan.

"We have no actual number of people to be evacuated in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Batanes, but local officials have started moving them to safety," Benito Ramos, head of the disaster agency, told reporters.

Ramos said army trucks had been placed on standby in case the alert level was raised further. Disaster officials said some communities on the southern island of Mindanao had also started fleeing coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean.

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