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Japanese Tsunami 2011

Earthquake off Philippines spurs small tsunami, one dead

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 12:31am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 12:35am

A 7.6-magnitude quake struck off the eastern coast of the Philippines late Friday, killing at least one person in a house collapse, knocking out power in several towns and generating negligible tsunami surges.

A tsunami alert originally was issued for several countries in the region including Indonesia and Japan and for Pacific islands as far away as the Northern Marianas, but they all were later lifted, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The center said that very small tsunami waves of 3 centimetres were recorded along the eastern Philippine coast near Legazpi city and another nearby location.

Benito Ramos, a retired general who heads the country's disaster-response agency, said in an advisory broadcast nationwide that residents should be on the alert for aftershocks.

"Don't sleep, especially those in the eastern seaboard ... because there might be aftershocks," he said.

Initial warnings of a possible substantial tsunami prompted many coastal residents in the Philippines to head for high ground.

"My neighbours and I have evacuated. We are now on our way to the mountains," fisherman Marlon Lagramado told The Associated Press before the warnings were lifted, in a telephone interview from the coastal town of Guiwan in the Philippine province of Eastern Samar.

The quake, with preliminary magnitude 7.6, hit at a depth of 34.9 kilometres and was centred 106 kilometres east of Samar Island, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

One house collapsed in southern Cagayan de Oro city, on the main southern island of Mindanao, killing a 54-year-old woman and injuring her 5-year-old grandson, who was being treated in a hospital, said the city's mayor, Vicente Emano.

The quake knocked out power in several other towns and cities across the central and southern Philippines, though it was restored in some areas later Friday, according to rescuers and local radio reports.