A magnitude seven earthquake has struck the southern Philippines but there were no immediate reports of damage and a tsunami warning was not issued, the earthquake hit about 310 kilometres (193 miles) southeast of Davao city on the main southern island of Mindanao at 8:23pm (12:23 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Residents in the town of Jose Abad Santos, near the southern tip of the island, lost electricity for about 15 minutes after the earthquake shook the region but there was no damage, police chief Captain Glabynarry Murillo told the AFP news agency. “From our vantage point at the police station, we saw many residents rushing outside,” said Murillo. “We also rushed outside because the police station is a three-storey building.” The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned of aftershocks. “It was felt extensively because it’s a major earthquake but it’s deep so it won’t be damaging to the infrastructure because it’s considerably far [from the island],” Renato Solidum, director of the institute, told the DZBB radio station.
The earthquake was felt on the northern Indonesian island of Sangihe, but similarly, there were no injuries or damage reported. “Here in Sangihe capital, Tahuna, people were panicking for a while and they fled home because the quake was quite long and strong,” Rivolius Pudihang, head of the disaster mitigation agency in Sangihe, North Sulawesi, told the AFP news agency. “But things have returned to normal and people have returned home.” In recent years, the southern Davao region has been battered by powerful earthquakes set off by local fault lines. The Philippines lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur.
It is also lashed by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines in 1990.