Magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes off southern Philippines, Latest World News - The New Paper

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes off southern Philippines

MANILA – A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of the southern Philippines early on Dec 4, the United States Geological Survey said, the latest in a slew of strong quakes all concentrated in the same area.

The earthquake hit just before 4am local time (2000 GMT Dec 3), at a depth of 30km, some 72km north-east of Hinatuan municipality on Mindanao island.

That followed a magnitude 6.6 earthquake on Dec 3 and a deadly magnitude 7.6 quake on Dec 2 in the same region, which had briefly triggered a tsunami alert.

At least two people were killed and several were injured after Dec 2’s quake, authorities said. It was followed by a series of aftershocks of magnitudes exceeding 6.0 through Dec 3, according to the USGS.

Hinatuan police Staff Sergeant Joseph Lambo said Dec 3 evening’s quake sent people rushing out of their homes again.

“They were panicking due to the memory of the previous night’s quake,” Mr Lambo told AFP.

He said police were checking for any further damage or casualties.

Dec 2’s quake triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific region and sent residents along the east coast of Mindanao fleeing buildings, evacuating a hospital and seeking higher ground.

Earthquake-affected residents ride a boat as they evacuate from Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur province on Dec 3, following a 7.6 magnitude quake late on Dec 2. PHOTO: AFP

Collapsed wall kills man

There have been no reports of major damage to buildings or infrastructure so far, disaster officials told AFP earlier on Dec 3.

A 30-year-old man died in Bislig City, in Surigao del Sur province, when a wall inside his house collapsed on top of him, said local disaster official Pacifica Pedraverde.

Some roads in the city were cracked during the earthquake and aftershocks but vehicles could still drive on them, she said.

A pregnant woman was killed in Tagum city in Davao del Norte province, the national disaster agency said, without providing details.

Two people suffered minor injuries from falling debris in Tandag City, about 100 kilometres north of Bislig, an official said.

The earthquake hit just before 4am local time at a depth of 30km, some 72km north-east of Hinatuan municipality on Mindanao island. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM USGS

The Philippine seismology institute initially warned of a “destructive tsunami” after the first quake Saturday, expecting “life threatening” waves, though none occurred and the warning later ended.

Small swells were reported as far away as Japan’s eastern Pacific coast, where a tsunami warning was also briefly in effect. Palau, a western Pacific archipelago located about 900 kilometres off Mindanao, reported no impact.

The recent temblors came some two weeks after a 6.7 magnitude quake hit Mindanao, killing at least nine people, shaking buildings and causing part of a shopping mall ceiling to collapse.

Earthquakes are a daily occurrence in the Philippines, which sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic and volcanic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Most are too weak to be felt by humans. – AFP

People gather at an evacuation center, in the aftermath of an earthquake, in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, on Dec 2. PHOTO: EPA-EFE