on Saturday 2 December, 2023

Tsunami threat recedes after earthquake struck Philippines

by : Agencies

There is no longer a tsunami threat after an earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck Mindanao in the southern Philippines late on Saturday, the US Tsunami Warning System said on Sunday.

“Based on all available data ... the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed,” it said.

“Minor sea level fluctuations may occur in some coastal areas.”

Some areas of the Philippines and southwestern Japanese coasts were previously expected to be hit tsunami waves of a meter (3 feet) or more.

A magnitude 6.4 aftershock shook the southern Philippines, the US Geological Survey earlier said, shortly after a powerful quake hit the region and triggered a tsunami alert that sent people fleeing inland.

A series of aftershocks had hit the southern island of Mindanao after a magnitude 7.6 quake struck late Saturday.

The US Tsunami Warning System had said there could be waves of up to 3 meters above the tide level along some Philippine coasts.

“Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised,” Phivolcs said, asking people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to “immediately evacuate” or “move farther inland.”

The Japanese broadcaster NHK said tsunami waves of up to a meter were expected to reach Japan’s southwestern coast around 30 minutes later - by 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (1630 GMT on Saturday).

Phivolcs said it did expect significant damage from the tremor itself, but had warned of aftershocks.

Raymark Gentallan, local police chief of the coastal town of Hinatuan near the earthquake’s epicenter, said power has been knocked out since the quake struck, but disaster response teams have not monitored any casualties or damage yet.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said a quake of magnitude 7.5 had struck at a depth of 63 km (39 miles).

The US Geographic Survey put the quake at magnitude 7.6 and a depth of 32 km (20 miles), and said it had struck at 10:37 p.m., Philippines time (1437 GMT).