6,9 magnitude earthquake shakes southern Philippines - Tsunami alert sounded

181229 Mindanao PHILIPPINES

There is no information on casualties or damage

A strong earthquake measuring 6,9 on the Richter scale struck off the southern Philippine island of Mindanao today, raising fears of a tsunami in the area, but after about two hours the warning came.

There were no reports of injuries or severe damage. The US Geological Survey (USGS) said it was 193 kilometers east of the Philippine city of General Santos at a depth of 60 kilometers.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially said "dangerous tsunami waves" could hit areas 300km from the epicenter, off the coasts of the Philippines, Indonesia and Palau.

But about two hours after the quake, the center announced that there was no longer a threat of a tsunami. The USGS initially announced that the magnitude of the earthquake was 7,2, but later corrected its magnitude to 6,9.

Residents of the southern Philippines said the quake lasted about a minute and that people ran out of buildings, but no major damage was reported.

"I was at the front desk and saw the chandeliers rocking," Jonah Ramos, who works at the Anchor Hotel in General Santos, told Reuters by telephone. He added that all the hotel guests and staff left the building, but later returned to it.

Indonesian media also reported no damage.

Recall that Indonesia was hit by two major tsunamis this year.

The first was followed by a magnitude 7,5 earthquake on the west coast of the island of Sulawesi in September. More than 2.000 people lost their lives.

The second tsunami occurred a week ago, on Saturday night, when part of a volcanic island collapsed in the strait between Java and Sumatra, causing tsunami waves that killed more than 400 people.