Philippines orders evacuations after quake - RTHK
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Philippines orders evacuations after quake

2023-12-02 HKT 23:12
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  • Medics and patients evacuate a hospital in Butuan City after Saturday's quake. Photo: AFP
    Medics and patients evacuate a hospital in Butuan City after Saturday's quake. Photo: AFP
Evacuations were under way in the Philippines after a quake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck the southern region of Mindanao on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings in the country and in Japan, though a US agency said the risk of large waves had passed.

The US Tsunami Warning System, which initially warned of waves of up to 3 metres above the usual high tide level, later said there was no longer a tsunami threat.

Evacuations were continuing in the Philippines, where there were no initial reports of significant wave damage or casualties despite continuing aftershocks.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Phivolcs, maintained that the risk of a tsunami remained. "The warning has not been cancelled yet," it said in a statement to reporters.

People living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces should "immediately evacuate" or "move farther inland", Phivolcs said in its initial warning.

"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. Phivolcs said it was expecting some damage from the tremor, having initially said it didn't expect any damage, and warned of aftershocks.

The area was quickly hit by more than two dozen aftershocks, the largest measuring magnitude 6.5, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

Raymark Gentallan, police chief of the coastal town of Hinatuan, 30 km from the earthquake's epicentre with a population of around 44,000, said power had been out since the quake struck.

"We're evacuating people away from coastal areas," he said, adding disaster response teams had not yet seen any casualties or damage.

James Soria, who owns a small hotel in Hinatuan, said there had been significant damage to his home. "It's shaking again here now," he said, before the call was disconnected as another aftershock hit the area.

Photographs posted on social media by Hinatuan's local administration showed scores of residents and queues of vehicles moving towards higher ground, with one large shelter occupied by several dozen people.
Last updated: 2023-12-03 HKT 02:49

Philippines orders evacuations after quake