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Magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits Davao Occidental

(5th UPDATE) At 6:54 am, Saturday, Phivolcs cancels its tsunami advisory ‘as there is no longer a tsunami threat for this event’

SARANGANI EARTHQUAKE. The earthquake is tectonic in origin and has a depth of 57 kilometers, according to Phivolcs. Image courtesy of Phivolcs

MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the municipality of Sarangani in Davao Occidental at 4:23 am, Saturday, April 29, reported the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The quake, centered 53 km southwest of Sarangani (05.02°N, 125.24°E), was tectonic in origin and had a depth of 57 kilometers, according to Phivolcs.

It was felt at Intensity V in General Santos City; Koronadal City; Santa Maria, Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Balot Island, Davao Occidental; Polomolok, Tupi, South Cotabato; Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Sarangani; and Palimbag, Sultan Kudarat

The strong quake was also felt in the following areas:

  • Intensity IV – Davao City; Cotabato City; Zamboanga City
  • Intensity III – Cagayan De Oro City
  • Intensity II – Kidapawan City

In its 8:05 am bulletin, Phivolcs said it was not expecting aftershocks or damage.

No damage was reported in Sarangani, but "some minor damage" was reported in General Santos City.

Phivolcs earlier issued an advisory for coastal communities fronting Celebes Sea (Sarangani, Davao Occidental, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental and Sultan Kudarat) as sea level disturbances such as strong currents and rapid rise and fall of seawaters were expected.

But at 6:54 am Saturday, Phivolcs cancelled its tsunami advisory "as there is no longer a tsunami threat for this event."

In a dzMM interview, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the earthquake was not as damaging "dahil sa dagat ito nangyari (because it happened under the sea)."

Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on Saturday asked Filipinos, especially residents of Sarangani, to stay calm and to remain vigilant and alert.

"Our disaster officials are now conducting rapid damage assessment and we assure those affected that immediate assistance will be provided. We will be giving updates as more information becomes available," he said in a statement.

At least 2 injured

Residents were jolted from their beds and ran onto the streets as the earthquake shook the area, leaving cracks in a hospital, two government buildings and a port, as well as triggering the collapse of at least one house and causing a brief power outage.

"The floor appeared to rise first before swaying violently from side to side. Then the lights went out," said Adrian Morallas, who was at work at the civil defense office in General Santos City at the time of the quake.

"I ducked and took cover under my desk in line with our disaster training, though it was very difficult to do that in the dark with the ground shaking."

Morallas said coastal communities near General Santos were told to evacuate as a precaution, though authorities do not know how many people actually left their homes.

At least two people were injured during the evacuations in the Mindanao coastal towns of Glan and Malapatan, according to Morallas.

One person was hit by a falling rock while a pregnant woman hurt herself when she fell. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com