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Earthquake of 7.5 Strikes Philippines; Tsunami Expected

Mindanao, Philippines
Mindanao, Philippines

An earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck Mindanao in the southern Philippines late Saturday, triggering evacuation orders for some areas there and on southwestern Japanese coasts because of warnings of tsunami waves of a meter or more.

The Philippine Seismology Agency Phivolcs said the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight and continue for hours.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System said there could be waves of up to 3 meters (10 feet) above the tide level along some Philippine coasts.

"Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised," Phivolcs said, asking people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to "immediately evacuate" or "move farther inland."

The Japanese broadcaster NHK said tsunami waves of up to a meter (3 feet) were expected to reach Japan's southwestern coast about 30 minutes later — by 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Phivolcs warned of aftershocks.

Raymark Gentallan, local police chief of the coastal town of Hinatuan near the earthquake's epicenter, said that power has been knocked out since the quake struck, but that disaster response teams have not monitored any casualties or damage yet.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the "Ring of Fire," a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, or EMSC, said a quake of magnitude 7.5 had struck at a depth of 63 kilometers (40 miles).

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