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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Expect aftershocks but not a tsunami.
Science Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr, who is concurrent director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), corrected wrong reports circulating online that has caused panic in areas hit by the strong quake on Saturday afternoon, April 8. (READ: Batangas residents flee to safety after twin quakes)
“Please do not believe messages stating prediction of events. And do not forward any of these. Official information would only come from official addresses (Facebook and Twitter) or sites of Phivolcs,” Solidum urged the public.
Solidum also clarified that a tsunami is not expected to occur after the quake.
“The series of earthquakes this afternoon will not trigger tsunami as the magnitudes were not significantly high. Tsunamis will also have natural signs aside from strong shaking – sudden drop of water after the quake and unusual sound if there is an incoming tsunami,” Solidum said in an interview with Rappler.
Solidum added that aftershocks may occur, but they are “normal occurrences after strong earthquake events.”
Panic and damage
After the twin quakes struck the province just 4 days after a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit Batangas, terrified residents fled to parks and higher ground on Saturday.
People living in coastal areas left their homes, fearing a tsunami in the aftermath of the quakes.
“People panicked. Children were crying,” according to Facebook user Ryan Valle, a guest at Camp Netanya Resort in Mabini town in Batangas, the quake’s epicenter. (IN PHOTOS: #QuakePH causes panic, damage in Batangas resort)
In an interview with dzMM, Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said more people in the province feared the quake as it was stronger than the one they experienced on April 4.
“Naging (magnitude) 5.7; mas malakas talaga. At ngayon, walang kuryente sa Batangas City. Noon hindi. Mas marami ngayon ang medyo kinakabahan pa,” Mandanas said.
(It’s now [magnitude] 5.7; it’s stronger. And now, there’s no electricity in Batangas city. This didn’t happen the last time. More people are scared.)
Phivolcs said the quake first struck off Mabini, Batangas. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put it at 5.7.
Review preparedness plans
Solidum urged the public “to stay calm and review their preparedness and response plans.
“They need to know where to go in houses or buildings and protect themselves during the earthquake.
If houses have been damaged, please have these inspected by engineers before using,” Solidum said. (READ: What makes buildings earthquake-ready?)
In a previous interview with Rappler, Solidum stressed: “Ground shaking does not kill. Collapsing buildings do.”
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