MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology ordered residents living near shorelines in 19 provinces to seek higher ground before tsunami waves hit the country.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said tsunami waves measuring 1-meter high could hit the eastern coast of the country between 5 pm and 7 pm.
"All residents living near the shoreline are ordered to evacuate and seek higher ground. You have to leave the shoreline because the tsunami could reach up to 1 meter, which is about shoulder high," he told radio dzMM.
Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said people living 10-40 meters from the shoreline of the 19 provinces should evacuate. He said the first wave is expected to hit Batanes Group of Islands at around 5:30 p.m. while tsunami waves could hit Ilocos and Cagayan area later.
Phivolcs has raised tsunami alert level 2 in 19 provinces.
Coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean of the following provinces should keep watch:
Batanes Group of Islands
northernmost areas of Ilocos Norte
Surigao del Norte
Surigao del Sur
Davao del Sur
Phivolcs said residents in the 19 provinces should be on alert for unusual waves.
"Based on tsunami wave models and early tide gauge records of the tsunami in the Pacific, coastal areas in Philippine provinces fronting the tsunami waves will arrive between 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM March 11, 2011 Philippine time and may not always be the largest," the warning said.
"These waves may continue for hours," it added.
Phivolcs said people are advised to stay away from the shoreline during this period. People should not go to the coast to watch the tsunami.
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. Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised.