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Strong earthquake triggers tsunami, Philvolcs says

Tacloban City (September 26) -- The occurrence of strong earthquake triggers tsunami, Erlanton Olavere, Ms. Lynn Melo Santos and Ms. Jane Punongbayan of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) stated during the press conference held at the Office of Civil Defense Regional Office 8 on September 24.

Mr. Olavere said that a very strong earthquake like intensity 8 should make people think that a tsunami occurrence is a near possibility. He said that a community-based approach in tsunami disaster preparedness is very important because local tsunamis are sudden -onset events and communities should be trained to recognize natural signs of tsunamis.

Mr. Olavere said that the natural signs include felt earthquake, sudden rise and fall of sea level and unusual sound from the sea. He said that by felt earthquake, the people get disoriented, the television sets and other house ornaments are displaced and cracks in building are observed.

If after a strong quake, there is a sudden receding of the seawater level or sudden swelling of the seawater level, this is an indication that a tsunami is forthcoming.

The unusual sound from the sea is another vital sign that a tsunami is coming. Any one or two of these three vital local signs should already alert the community to evacuate to higher grounds, Mr. Olavere said.

Local tsunamis may strike a few minutes after a strong earthquake and it is important that local coastal communities know what to do and where to go, he added.

Due to short lead time, there could be no ample warning emanating from the national agencies, instead, communities should be trained to recognize natural signs and perform correct precautionary and evacuation procedures.

Regular tsunami drills are encouraged to be conducted for the residents to be familiar with evacuation procedures. This will ensure that in times of emergencies, panic would be avoided.

In this connection, a tsunami drill will be conducted by the National Disaster Coordinating Council and the PHILVOLCS, today, at the pilot barangay in Tolosa, Barangay San Roque.

Another tsunami drill will be conducted on Friday, September 28, in the second pilot barangay in the province of Leyte, Barangay Bulak in Abuyog, Leyte, Regional Director Salvador Estudillo of the Office of Civil Defense Regional Office 8 informed.

This, he said, is in connection with the implementation of the community-based early warning systems which is a component activity of the Hazards Mapping and Assessment for Effective Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (READY Project).

The READY Project, Director Estudillo further said, has three components, the multi-hazard identification and disaster risk assessment, the community-based disaster preparedness and the mainstreaming risk reduction into the local development and planning process. (PIA 8) [top]

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