(CTN News) – On Saturday evening, a powerful earthquake measuring at least 7.3 on the Richter scale struck Mindanao in the southern region of the Philippines.
As a result, evacuation orders were issued and tsunami warnings were put in place for Japan, with waves potentially reaching one meter or higher.
The Philippine Seismology Agency, Phivolcs, has forecasted that the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight (1600 GMT) and persist for several hours.
The US Tsunami Warning System has also cautioned that waves up to 3 meters above the tide level could arise along numerous coastlines in the Philippines.
Phivolcs has issued a statement advising boats that are already at sea during this time to remain in deep waters offshore until further notice.
They have also urged residents living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to evacuate immediately or relocate further inland. Japanese broadcaster NHK has reported that tsunami waves, reaching up to one meter, are expected to hit Japan’s southern coast around 1:30 am on Sunday (1630 GMT on Saturday).
Phivolcs has predicted that the earthquake will cause significant damage and has cautioned about potential aftershocks. Local police commander Raymark Gentallan, from the beach town of Hinatuan near the epicenter, has confirmed that there have been no casualties or damage, although power has been disrupted since the tremor.
The Philippines, situated along the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, a region known for its volcanic activity and seismic disturbances, is susceptible to earthquakes.
Furthermore, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) recorded an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 at a depth of 63 kilometers (39 miles).
As per the US Geological Survey, the earthquake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale and had a depth of 32 kilometers (20 miles). It occurred at approximately 10:37 pm, local time in the Philippines (1437 GMT).