Magnitude 6.9 quake latest to rattle southern Philippines

Magnitude 6.9 quake latest to rattle southern Philippines
Magnitude 6.9 quake latest to rattle southern Philippines

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Earthquake-affected residents evacuate from Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur province on December 3, 2023, following a 7.6 magnitude quake late on December 2. — AFP pic

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

Today’s quake hit just before 4:00am local time, (2000 GMT Sunday), at a depth of 30 kilometres (18 miles), some 72 kilometres northeast of Hinatuan municipality on Mindanao island.

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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday’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.

Collapsed wall kills man

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

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 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 South-east Asia and across the Pacific basin.

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

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