Tremors prompt Pagan evacuation

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Acting on the advice of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department of Public Safety will be evacuating 14 residents from Pagan as a precautionary measure while the island is being monitored for volcanic activity.

According to press secretary Kevin Bautista, DPS, in coordination with HSEM, deployed around 7pm last night two boats to evacuate 14 Pagan residents.

Bautista told Saipan Tribune that the precautionary measures were taken after earthquake tremors were reported yesterday afternoon on the island. The tremors were reportedly unrelated to the 8.2-magnitude earthquake that happened in the Alaskan peninsula that same day.

HSEM and DPS immediately collaborated so they could coordinate the evacuation effort.

“Under the advisement of HSEM and our federal partners close to the situation, we are sending out a DPS boating team to Pagan to safely evacuate the residents on the island as we continue to monitor volcanic activity in our region. The safety and protection of our residents are a paramount priority, and we will continue to work closely with USGS on next steps forward,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in a statement from the Office of the Governor.

The Northern Islands Mayor’s Office has also reached out to family members of the Pagan residents that are living on Saipan to inform them of the situation.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, the last major evacuation of the Island of Pagan was back in 1981 as a result of volcanic eruptions.

The Alaskan peninsula earthquake was a strong but shallow earthquake of 8.2 magnitude that struck the Alaskan peninsula late yesterday afternoon, Chamorro Standard Time.

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center immediately issued alerts for southern parts of Alaska, the volcanic peninsula, and Pacific coastal areas.

The earthquake prompted tsunami warnings in the continental United States as well as the CNMI and other regions in the Pacific.
As of 5:34pm press time, the CNMI was clear of a possible tsunami threat.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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