Tsunami waves of 40 cm in Japan after Philippines earthquake: Agency


An earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck Mindanao in the southern Philippines, triggering evacuation orders.

Tsunami waves of 40 cm (1.3 feet) have been observed on Japan’s Hachijojima island, some 290km (180 miles) south of Tokyo, after a major earthquake in the Philippines, says the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The agency earlier on Sunday warned the waves could reach a metre (3 feet) in height.

An earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck Mindanao in the southern Philippines, triggering evacuation orders for some areas of the country and for the southwest Japanese coast.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) late on Saturday said the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight (16:00 GMT) and continue for hours although there were no initial reports of significant wave damage by that time.

The US Tsunami Warning System initially said there could be waves of up to 3 metres (10ft) above the usual high tide level along some parts of the Philippine coast. It subsequently said there was no risk of a tsunami.

“Based on all available data, … the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed,” it said.

Phivolcs said people living near the coast in Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces should “immediately evacuate” or “move farther inland”.

“Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised,” it said.

The two provinces are largely rural and not densely populated unlike other parts of the Philippines.

People evacuate following the quake in Surigao del Sur, Philippines [Hinatuan LGU/Handout via Reuters]

Japanese broadcaster NHK said tsunami waves of up to 1 metre were expected to reach Japan’s southwest coast by 1:30am on Sunday (16:30 GMT on Saturday).

Phivolcs said it did not expect significant damage from the tremor itself but warned of aftershocks.

The area was quickly hit by more than a dozen aftershocks, the largest measuring magnitude 6.4, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

Raymark Gentallan, local police chief of the coastal city of Hinatuan near the earthquake’s epicentre, said power has been knocked out since the quake struck but disaster response teams had not yet monitored any casualties or damage.

“We are evacuating people away from coastal areas,” he told the Reuters news agency.

Photographs posted on social media by the local administration in Hinatuan, which has a population of about 44,000 people, showed scores of residents and queues of vehicles moving towards higher ground with one large shelter occupied by several dozen people.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

The EMSC said the quake of magnitude 7.5 had struck at a depth of 63km (39 miles) while the United States Geographic Survey put the quake at magnitude 7.6 and a depth of 32km (20 miles) and said it had struck at 10:37pm (14:37 GMT).

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