- Special Pages
By CHRIS V PANGANIBAN
DOHA: Many Filipinos here whose families and relatives are living in affected areas by the strong earthquake and tsunami warning expressed deep concern about the safety of their loved ones back home.
Just a few minutes when the news broke out about the 7.9 magnitude quake that hit Eastern Samar in the Philippines, Facebook walls of Filipinos in Qatar were already flooded with inquiries and updates on the situation back home.
Tension has even gone up after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a warning an hour later about a Tsunami Alert No. 3 that will hit the coastal areas of the provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council has warned residents in the Philippines not to return to their homes first due to observed water level rise. According to Twitter consolidated and official hashtag #phtrenchquake, the tsunami warning was still in effect at around 11:30pm (Philippine time) and will remain for two hours after estimated arrival time when bigger waves may still reach the shorelines.
The tsunami alert that went up to alert level No. 3 even caused the Facebook walls to draw a mix of worries and despair but it was good enough the power of the Internet have kept them abreast about the official government updates. “Let’s us fervently pray that nothing worst will happen,” said a concerned domestic helper whose family is living in Surigao del Norte.
Philipyuri Gealan, a videographer, said his old parents decided to seek refuge to higher grounds in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur after they saw the water at the shoreline started to rise at about one meter.
Miredy Cho, a teacher, said her phone conversation with her mother was suddenly cut off when she heard her scream after her mother felt the ground shook hard for about 30 seconds.
The rest of the family of another OFW in Agusan del Sur went out of their house because of the strong quake that lasted to about a minute. “They are alright but the children went in panic at the height of the tremor,” he said.
“Please God save our country, we just have not yet recovered from the typhoons,” posted another one on his wall written in all capital letters.