Davao quake triggers tsunami warning

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off Mindanao before noon on Saturday, triggering a tsunami warning, which was lifted nearly three hours later at 3 p.m. by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Phivolcs said in its final tsunami warning that wave heights had returned to the “normal tide level” at 3 p.m.

It said while no damage had been reported thus far, aftershocks were expected.

From Malacañang, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement: “The Palace urges local government units in Mindanao to closely monitor their respective areas of jurisdiction and take precautionary measures, particularly those in the coastal areas, in view of possible aftershocks, tsunami or both as a result of this morning’s earthquake with epicenter located 162 kilometers southwest of the municipality of Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental province.

“We ask everyone to be alert and cooperate as we pray for the safety of all,” Panelo added.

The quake, with initial small waves expected to hit other coastal areas of Mindanao and Indonesia,   struck southeast of Davao City at a depth of 59 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said, a week after a volcano-triggered tsunami killed more than 400 people in Indonesia.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said “hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible” along the coasts of Indonesia and the Philippines.

However, waves were forecast to be less than 30 cm high, it said, while Philippine monitors warned that “minor sea level disturbances” were to be expected.

“People are advised to stay away from the beach and not to go to the coast fronting the Philippine Sea,” for about two hours, the Philippines’ government seismology office said in its tsunami warning.

It said cities in the south of the country felt “moderately strong” shaking but civil defense offices in the affected areas said they had no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the quake.

According to the USGS, there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage, although it warned recent earthquakes in the area had caused landslides.

The Philippines and Indonesia lie on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

The most recent major quake disaster to strike the Philippines was in 2013 when a 7.1-magnitude quake left more than 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches in the central islands.

Indonesia has been hit by two major tsunamis this year. 

READ: Tsunami batters Indonesia: 222 dead

More than 400 people were killed last weekend after an erupting volcano triggered a deadly wave that struck the coastlines of western Java island and south Sumatra.

A quake-tsunami in September killed around 2,200 people in Palu on Sulawesi island, with thousands more missing and presumed dead. 

READ: Strong quake hits Davao

Topics: earthquake , tsunami warning , Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology , Salvador Panelo , Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
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