2 Dec 2023

Tsunami warning issued after 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes Philippines

On Saturday night, Mindanao in the southern Philippines experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 7.5. This prompted evacuation orders for specific areas and the southwestern coasts of Japan due to warnings of potential tsunami waves measuring one meter (3 feet) or more.

The Philippine Seismology Agency, Phivolcs, stated that the tsunami waves could reach the Philippines by midnight (1600 GMT) and persist for several hours. The U.S. Tsunami Warning System indicated the possibility of waves up to 3 meters above the tide level along certain Philippine coasts.

Residents urged to evacuate immediately

Seismology Agency Phivolcs advised boats already at sea during this period to remain offshore in deep waters until further notice. Residents living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces were urged to evacuate immediately or move farther inland.

NHK, the Japanese broadcaster, reported that tsunami waves of up to one meter were expected to reach Japan's southwestern coast approximately 30 minutes later, around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (1630 GMT on Saturday).

No casualties or damage reported as of now

While Phivolcs did not anticipate significant damage from the earthquake itself, they issued warnings about potential aftershocks. Raymark Gentallan, the local police chief of Hinatuan, a coastal town near the earthquake's epicenter, mentioned that power had been disrupted since the quake, but as of now, no casualties or damage have been reported by disaster response teams.

Earthquakes are frequent in the Philippines, situated on the "Ring of Fire," a volcanic belt encircling the Pacific Ocean known for high seismic activity. According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), a quake of magnitude 7.5 occurred at a depth of 63 km (39 miles). The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the quake at magnitude 7.6 with a depth of 32 km (20 miles), striking at 10:37 p.m. Philippines time (1437 GMT).

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