Friday August 31, 2012
Tsunami alert lifted after 7.6 quake off Philippines (Update)
MANILA: A 7.6 earthquake struck off the Philippine coast on Friday, triggering a small tsunami that hit the eastern part of the archipelago, seismologists said.
The US Geological Survey said the quake had a depth of 34 kilometres (21 miles) and hit at 8:47 pm (1247 GMT), 139 kilometres east of the city of Sulangan on Samar island.
A 16-centimetre (six-inch) tsunami hit the eastern Philippines about two hours later, raising fears that bigger waves were imminent.
But the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shortly afterwards lifted its tsunami warnings for the Philippines and Indonesia.
Tsunami warnings had also initially been raised for Japan, Taiwan and several Pacific islands, but they were almost immediately lifted.
The warnings led to a few hours of terror for residents along the east coast of the Philippines, many of whom were without electricity because power lines had been cut during the earthquake.
Leticia Amos, 35, a government employee, said hundreds of families on Samar rushed to a hillside area, carrying their belongings as soon as the alert was raised.
"It is very dark, there is no electricity and everyone is panicking," she told AFP by phone before the tsunami alert was lifted.
"Our place is on a hilly portion along the highway, and hundreds of people from low lying bayside areas rushed here."
Philippine authorities said the quake shook large areas of the eastern Philippines, but there were no immediate reports of damage or deaths.
"So far there are no casualties reported, but it was felt from the north to the south of the Philippines, on the eastern seaboard," civil defence chief Benito Ramos told AFP.
Paula Daza, the governor of northern Samar province, one of the areas closest to where the quake struck, said there were reports of damage to infrastructure.
"Some cracks appeared on concrete roads, and at the base of at least one bridge," he said.
Sol Matugas, the governor of another eastern region, Surigao del Norte, said on DZMM radio that the quake had severely shaken homes.
"We were rather frightened. For the first time, we saw objects falling out of our cabinets," he said.
The USGS had initially reported the quake as having a magnitude of 7.9, but revised it to 7.6. bur-kma/ao
MANILA: An earthquake of 7.9 magnitude struck off the Philippines on Friday and a tsunami warning has been issued for the region, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The quake was centred off the east coast, 91 miles (146 km) off the town of Guiuan in Samar province at a depth of about 20 miles (32 km), USGS said.
The tsunami warning was issued for the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and other islands in the Pacific including the U.S. state of Hawaii.
The NOAA Tsunami Center later lifted a warning for Japan, Taiwan and several other Pacific islands.
"Strong earthquake here in Taft, Eastern Samar! And it lasted very long too!" Samar congresman, Ben Evardone, told reporters via text message.
An official at the Philippines' Volcanolgy Institute said he expected damage had been caused in Samar province but he had yet to receive any reports.
"If you are anywhere near the coast I recommend that you head to higher ground," Paul Caruso of the USGS told Sky TV by telephone when asked about a threat of a tsunami hitting the coast of the Philippines.