by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Aug 31, 2012
A 7.6 earthquake struck off the Philippine coast on Friday, triggering landslides that killed at least one person and a small tsunami that hit the eastern part of the archipelago, authorities said.
The quake struck at a depth of 34 kilometres (21 miles) in the Pacific Ocean about 140 kilometres from the Philippines, leading to tsunami warnings across its east coast and as far away as Indonesia, Japan and Papua New Guinea.
A series of small waves ranging from 16-centimetres (six-inch) to 50 centimetres hit the eastern Philippines about two hours after the quake, according to local authorities, but there were no reports of major damage.
The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shortly afterwards lifted its tsunami warnings for the Philippines and Indonesia. It had earlier cancelled similar warnings for Japan, Taiwan and several Pacific islands.
The warnings led to a burst of terror for residents along the east coast of the Philippines, many of whom were without electricity because power lines had been cut during the earthquake that hit at 8:47 pm (1247 GMT).
Leticia Amos, 35, a government employee, said hundreds of families on Samar island rushed to a hillside area, carrying their belongings as soon as the alert was raised.
"It is very dark, there is no electricity and everyone is panicking," she told AFP by phone.
"Our place is on a hilly portion along the highway, and hundreds of people from low lying bayside areas rushed here."
The quake shook large areas of the east, and one person was confirmed killed when a landslide engulfed her home in Cagayan de Oro City.
"There's a 60-year-old woman who died and a five-year-old girl who was injured. There was a small landslide," civil defence chief Benito Ramos said on DZMM radio.
"The quake occurred amid strong rain, so the earth shook loose and there was a landslide."
Paula Daza, the governor of northern Samar province, one of the areas closest to where the quake struck, said there were reports of damage to infrastructure.
"Some cracks appeared on concrete roads, and at the base of at least one bridge," he said.
Sol Matugas, the governor of another eastern region, Surigao del Norte, said on DZMM radio that the quake had severely shaken homes.
"We were rather frightened. For the first time, we saw objects falling out of our cabinets," he said.
The USGS had initially reported the quake as having a magnitude of 7.9, but revised it to 7.6.
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