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Tsunami Feared to Hit Bikol

Mar 12, 2011 (UPDATE)  - Governor Joey Salceda of Albay province ordered preventive coastal evacuations in 12 barangays and two cities in Albay following the earthquake of 8.9 magnitude that hit north east coast of Japan Friday afternoon. A tsunami of about one meter or three feet high is expected to hit Bikol and the rest of the Philippine eastern crescent tonight at around 11PM.  Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) raised tsunami alert to level two warning to 16 provinces all over the country, including Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes and Sorsogon. Level 2 alert requires coastal habitants to evacuate to highlands.

The quake is the strongest in Japanese history since 1900. It hit Northern Japan at 2:46PM, unleashing a monster wave of about 10 meters high. The US tsunami monitoring center extended the warning to practically all the Pacific coasts from Hawaii to South America and Australia.

Tsunami was initially expected to hit the Philippines between 5PM to 7PM Friday.

Phil-Japanese Bong de la Cruz residing in Toyama prefecture told Vox Bikol that it was her first experience of an earthquake in Japan. Although she lives 7 hours away from Tokyo, the magnitude was 7.0 which lasted between 3 to 4 minutes. “It was really scary. I was used to small scale eartchquakes in the Philippines. But this one was really strong.” After ten minutes, two more aftershocks were felt.

Sendai City, Miyagi prefecture, suffered the brunt of damages. It has more than a million residents. As of press time, 44 are reported killed, 39 missing, and 244 injured. There are no news yet on whether there are any Filipinos hurt in Japan related to the earthquake and tsunami.


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