7.6 Quake Hits Near Philippines, Spurs Small Tsunami

Tsunami generated that “may have been destructive along coastlines of the region near the earthquake epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says

By TERESA CEROJANO
|  Friday, Aug 31, 2012  |  Updated 10:50 AM CDT
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7.6 Pacific Quake Spurs Small Tsunami

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A 7.6-magnitude quake struck off the eastern coast of the Philippines late Friday, killing at least one person in a house collapse, knocking out power in several towns and generating negligible tsunami surges.

A tsunami alert originally was issued for several countries in the region including Indonesia and Japan and for Pacific islands as far away as the Northern Marianas, but they all were later lifted, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The center said that very small tsunami waves of 3 centimeters meters (just over an inch) were recorded along the eastern Philippine coast near Legazpi city and another nearby location.

Benito Ramos, a retired general who heads the country's disaster-response agency, said in an advisory broadcast nationwide that residents should be on the alert for aftershocks.

"Don't sleep, especially those in the eastern seaboard ... because there might be aftershocks," he said.

Initial warnings of a possible substantial tsunami prompted many coastal residents in the Philippines to head for high ground.

"My neighbors and I have evacuated. We are now on our way to the mountains," fisherman Marlon Lagramado told The Associated Press before the warnings were lifted, in a telephone interview from the coastal town of Guiwan in the Philippine province of Eastern Samar.

The quake, with preliminary magnitude 7.6, hit at a depth of 34.9 kilometers (21.7 miles) and was centered 106 kilometers (66 miles) east of Samar Island, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

One house collapsed in southern Cagayan de Oro city, on the main southern island of Mindanao, killing a 54-year-old woman and injuring her 5-year-old grandson, who was being treated in a hospital, said the city's mayor, Vicente Emano.

The quake knocked out power in several other towns and cities across the central and southern Philippines, though it was restored in some areas later Friday, according to rescuers and local radio reports.

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