Saturday, September 21, 2019

Magnitude 7.2 quake rocks Sarangani, parts of Mindanao

MANILA (Updated) -- A massive magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Sarangani, Davao Occidental, Saturday dawn, prompting a brief tsunami warning for the coast of provinces fronting Celebes Sea.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake, which hit at 4:23 a.m., was centered 53 kilometers southwest of Sarangani, at a depth of 57 kilometers. It was tectonic in origin.

Phivolcs issued a tsunami warning for the coastlines of Sarangani, Davao Occidental, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental and Sultan Kudarat then lifted it about two hours later.

It had earlier urged those living near the shores to "stay away from the beach and not to go to the coast" for at least an hour after the tremor.

In an advisory, Phivolcs confirmed the Sarangani sea level monitoring station showed a drop of approximately 30 centimeters and a maximum rise of approximately 10 centimeters wave height relative to normal sea level.

Several aftershocks have followed the quake, the strongest recorded by Phivolcs was a magnitude 4.1 quake at 4:54 a.m.

Television reports show damaged structures but civil defense officials said that there were no reports of damage and injuries so far.

Malacañang issued a statement Saturday urging the public to remain alert and vigilant for the possible aftershocks.

"We ask our people, particularly residents of Sarangani, to stay calm and yet remain vigilant and alert," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

"Our disaster officials are now conducting rapid damage assessment and we assure those affected that immediate assistance will be provided," he added.

Abella said the government would give updates "as more information becomes available."

Meanwhile, the airports of Davao, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Laguindingan, Ozamis and General Santos showed no damage, according to initial reports from respective area managers.

Phivolcs said the highest intensity was felt in Soccsksargen region.

Intensity 5: General Santos City; Koronadal City; Santa Maria, Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Balot Island, Davao Occidental; Polomolok, Tupi, South Cotabato; Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Sarangani; Palimbag, Sultan Kudarat

Intensity 4: Davao City; Cotabato City; Zamboanga City

Intensity 3: Cagayan De Oro City

Intensity 2: Kidapawan City

The Philippines sits along a seismic zone known as Pacific Ring of Fire, where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic activities occur. (With Ruth Abbey Gita/PNA/SunStar Philippines)


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