By Bill Ventura
SAN PABLO, Isabela – Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III has ordered a massive evacuation of the 18,000 villagers in the coastal towns of Palanan, Maconacon and Divilacan in Isabela as a Tsunami Alert Level 2 was issued by the weather experts after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan.
He said that relief goods were also prepared and coordination was established with air personnel of the Philippine Air Force to evacuate villagers in emergency situation.
The three coastal towns in Isabela, sandwiched by the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre mountain ranges, have been bearing the brunt of such tsunami alerts and typhoons due to its proximity to the high seas.
The three coastal towns of Divilacan, Palanan and Maconacon have been accessible only by a 35-minute plane ride or a 10-hour boat ride via Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
Only Dinapigue, another coastal town, has a land access via a 12-hour trip via Nagtipunan, Quirino and Dilasag, Aurora.
Dy said that an earthquake of such size “has the potential to generate destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours.”
Provincial planning and development officer Nestor Salvador said they previously ordered a warning when an Alert Level 1 was issued but later ordered villagers for an immediate evacuation when it was raised to Level 2.
“The tsunami is expected to hit the ground by 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. so we must be always ready,” Salvador said. (PNA)