7.6 quake off Visayas; power knocked out in central, south PHBy Frances Mangosing
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines—A major 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the sea area east of Eastern Samar on Friday evening triggering a tsunami warning across the region, seismologists said.
At least one house collapsed in Cagayan de Oro City and power was knocked out in several cities in Visayas and Mindanao, local radio reported.
The US Geological Survey said the quake had a depth of 34.9 kilometers and hit at 8:47 p.m. (1247 GMT) some 94 kilometers east of the city of Sulangan, Eastern Samar.
A tsunami alert originally was issued for several countries including Japan and for Pacific islands as far away as the Northern Marianas, but most of them were soon lifted, leaving warnings only for the Philippines and Indonesia, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
“My neighbors and I have evacuated. We are now on our way to the mountains,” fisherman Marlon Lagramado was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in a telephone interview from the coastal town of Guiwan in Eastern Samar.
Initial reports showed the tremor was felt in the provinces of Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Sarangani and Bukidnon and in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Tagum, General Santos City and Davao.
The warning center said any wave generated by the quake would be expected to hit Indonesia first.
It would then be due to hit the Philippines at 1338 GMT.
“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicentre within minutes to hours,” the center said.
The head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Renato Solidum, said that residents living along the coastline of Eastern Samar were advised to evacuate to high ground in case of the tsunami.
A local radio station reported one house collapsed in Cagayan de Oro City and there was no electricity in several other towns and cities across the central and southern Philippines.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity. With a report from Inquirer Mindanao