Dec 2 (Reuters) – An earthquake measuring at least 7.5 struck the southern Philippine island of Mindanao late on Saturday evening, prompting evacuation orders in some areas and the southwestern coast of Japan due to warnings of tsunami waves reaching a height of a meter or more.
Philippine seismic agency Phivolcs said the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight (1600 GMT) and continue for hours.
The US Tsunami Warning System said there could be waves up to three meters above tide level along some Philippine coasts.
“Boats already at sea during this period should remain offshore in deep water until further notice,” Phivolcs said, asking people living near the coast of Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to “evacuate immediately” or “move further away.” inside the land.”
Tsunami waves up to a meter high are expected to reach Japan’s southwestern coast in about 30 minutes, by 1:30 a.m. Sunday (1630 GMT Saturday), public broadcaster NHK said.
Phivolcs said it expected significant damage from the earthquake itself, but warned of aftershocks.
Raymark Jintalan, local police chief in the coastal town of Hinatuan near the epicenter, said that electricity had been cut off since the earthquake, but disaster response teams had not detected any casualties or damage so far.
Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which is located on the “Ring of Fire,” a belt of volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Center said that a 7.5-magnitude earthquake occurred at a depth of 63 kilometers.
The US Geographic Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.6 and a depth of 32 kilometers, and said it occurred at 10:37 pm Philippine time (1437 GMT).
(Reporting by Mrinmay Dai in Bengaluru and Mikhail Flores in Manila – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo. Writing by Kevin Levy. Edited by Diane Craft and Alison Williams
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