MANILA, Philippines>> The Philippines is ordering its citizens near Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant to come home and will pay travel costs for about 2,000 of them.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says the first chartered flight could leave Japan on Sunday.
He told reporters Tuesday that President Benigno Aquino III issued the order after Japan raised the severity level of the crisis to equal the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The order applies to at least 1,144 Filipinos who live within 31 miles of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
Del Rosario says the government will pay for Filipinos to travel home if they live within a larger area of 62 miles. Some 2,000 Filipinos are within that area.