Hundreds of residents living in coastal barangays moved to higher grounds in Sibulan and Valencia town, after a tsunami alert was issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Monday in Dumaguete City and areas in northern Negros Oriental.
PHIVOLCS issued tsunami alert level 2 after the earthquake occurred and advised the people in coastal areas to be alert to possible sea water level rise.
Some residents who evacuated to Barangay San Antonio, Sibulan claimed that they observed the sudden rise of sea water level Monday. They immediately sought refuge to higher ground as strong aftershocks are being experienced from time to time.
As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, the tsunami alert was lifted by PHIVOLCS to defuse the tension and confusion of some residents in the city, and in the nearby coastal barangays and towns in the province.
In Dumaguete, residents of Barangay Bantayan panicked after unverified information through text messaging spreading like wildfire that a tsunami will occur because the sea water had unusually retreated.
Negros Oriental PHIVOLCS Science Research Analyst, Jose Agustin Molas, said that there are only three natural signs of an approaching local tsunami. These are a strong earthquake, unusual sea level change, or sudden seawater drop or rise, and the rumbling sound of approaching waves.
Molas clarified that a locally generated tsunamis occurs within a very short time, with the first wave reaching the shoreline nearest the epicenter at least two to five minutes after the main earthquake.
The epicenter of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake Monday was situated in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. Molas said it is still wise to immediately vacate to higher grounds as preemptive evacuation. It should also be noted that instant food packages, water, blanket and communication is necessary during immediate evacuation, he added.*
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