PHILIPPINES: Strong seismic vibration

Earthquake warning

A magnitude 6,6 to 6,7 earthquake shook the region of the eastern Philippines today, however, no tsunami alert was issued, while the first information speaks only of material damage.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck at 08:03 (local time; 03:03 Cyprus time), 68 km from the town of Masbate in the Visayas Islands. Its focal depth was only ten kilometers, according to the same source.

The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) for its part estimated that the earthquake had a magnitude of 6,6 and occurred at a depth of 30 kilometers.

The Philippine Institute of Seismology assured that there is no danger of a tsunami, but warned that strong aftershocks could follow.

Early reports speak of damage to homes in a coastal community, but no casualties.

Residents were frightened to leave their homes when they felt the quake in the town of Iloilo, in the western part of the Visayas Islands, 400 km from Masbate. A police officer told AFP that most people preferred to stay out. Residents said the quake was "strong but very short".

"My office and other things in my house fell down, the walls in my neighbors' house cracked, some collapsed," Rodrigo, a 30-year-old computer technician from Catania, with a population of 50.000, told Reuters.

The USGS estimated that the probability of a strong earthquake causing casualties or severe property damage was small, but added that several recent tremors in the area "caused reflection damage" especially because they resulted in "landslides".

The Philippines, an island nation of 107 million people, is located on the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean, a zone where tectonic plates intersect and strong seismic vibrations and intense volcanic activity are common.

Source: Sigmalive