Powerful 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southern Philippines, Prompting Tsunami Warning and Evacuations

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake happened at 10:37 p.m. and was 32 kilometres (20 miles) deep. There were no reports of big injuries or damage right away.


A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 happened off the southern coast of the Philippines on Saturday. Around midnight, when the Philippines issued a tsunami warning, many people ran out of their homes in fear.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake happened at 10:37 p.m. and was 32 kilometres (20 miles) deep. There were no reports of big injuries or damage right away.

At first, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said that the waves would likely hit the southern Philippines, as well as parts of Indonesia, Palau, and Malaysia, based on their size and where they were happening. In the end, though, the centre took down its wave alert.

Authorities in Japan told people to leave some parts of Okinawa Prefecture, including the whole coastal area. This affected thousands of people.

The head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Teresito Bacolcol, told The Associated Press that people living along the shore of southern Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces were told to leave right away and go to higher ground or move farther inland.

In its tsunami warning, the quake agency said that boat owners in harbours, bays, or weak coastal seas off of the two provinces should lock up their boats and stay away from the shore. It said that boats that are already out at sea should stay there in deep water until they are told otherwise.

Based on how big the earthquake was, Bacolcol said a 1-meter (3.2-foot) tsunami might happen. However, the wave might be bigger in bays, coves, and straits that are cut off.

Around midnight, people in Hinatuan town and nearby areas in Surigao del Sur province were leaving their homes to stay safe, according to the government's disaster-response office, which said it could not give more specific information at this time.

On the Hinatuan government's Facebook page, there are pictures of people running to higher ground at night on foot or in cars, trucks, motorbikes, and trike cabs.

More than three hours after the earthquake, Bacolcol said that his agency's field offices had not heard of a wave hitting the coast. However, he added that officials would keep an eye on things.

Because it is on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a circle of seismic lines around the ocean, the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. It is often hit by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It also gets hit by about 20 typhoons and storms every year.

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