Tsunami warning due to powerful earthquake amid widespread panic in Philippines, one person dead

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A powerful earthquake has struck the southern Philippines, killing at least one villager and injuring several others, as thousands of people fled their homes in panic after a tsunami warning was issued and people were trapped in high-rise buildings. Roads were blocked to reach places. Officials gave this information on Sunday.

The US Geological Survey said Saturday night's earthquake had a magnitude of 7.6 and occurred at a depth of 32 kilometers (20 miles). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it expected tsunami waves to hit the southern Philippines and parts of Indonesia, Palau and Malaysia, but later withdrew its tsunami warning.

In Japan, authorities issued evacuation orders late Saturday in various parts of Okinawa Prefecture, including the entire coastal area, affecting thousands of people.

A pregnant woman died when she, her husband and daughter were hit by a 15-foot (4.5 m) concrete wall that collapsed in their neighborhood due to ground shaking, trapping them in their home in Tagum city, Davao del Norte province. Was forced to run away from home. , Sheldon Isidoro, the city's disaster-mitigation chief, told The Associated Press.

Her husband and daughter were injured. Two other children and their parents jumped out of a second-floor window in panic as their house shook, but were unhurt after landing on a grassy field, said Isidoro, who was at his home when the ground shook. Started.

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"At the beginning the wave was weak. Then it became rapidly stronger and I could barely stand. My perfume bottles fell off a table, the pictures on my wall swayed and I heard people outside shouting: 'Get out. , Get out, earthquake, earthquake!" 'Isidoro said.

While he feared the roof of his home would collapse on him, Isidoro said he was more worried that there could be many casualties in Tagum, a city of about 300,000 people where he led routine earthquake drills, allowing them to Felt this would help prevent more deaths and injuries.

Hundreds of patients were evacuated from Tagum Hospital, but were later moved back after inspection found no major damage to the building, officials said.

Thousands of residents in many cities remained out of their homes for hours due to fears of an earthquake and tsunami, with some cities drenched by overnight rain, officials said.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. told a news conference that officials were assessing the quake's impact, but initial reports indicated there was no major damage other than two damaged bridges and power outages. He said one death was reported along with some injuries.

Teresito Bacolcol, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told the AP shortly after the quake that his agency had advised residents along the coast of Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces, which were near the epicenter of the undersea earthquake. Move immediately to higher ground or move further inland.

Photos posted on the Facebook account of Hintuan city in Surigao del Sur province showed residents fleeing to higher ground overnight on foot or in cars, trucks, motorcycles and tricycle taxis.

Officials said many villagers who had fled to evacuation centers returned to their homes on Sunday.

After conducting inspections, civil aviation officials said there was no major damage and no disruption to flight operations at several airports in the south.

The Philippines, one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, is frequently affected by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is hit by about 20 storms and typhoons each year.

Associated Press journalist Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

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