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7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits the Philippines

An earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck Mindanao in the southern Philippines late Saturday December 2, 2023, killing at least one person. This led to mass evacuation orders for some areas and on southwestern Japanese coasts following dire warnings of tsunami waves of a meter or even more. This is the second earthquake in the region in a span of less than two and half weeks, with a 6.7 magnitude earthquake on November 17, 2023 that killed five. 

The Philippine Seismology Agency ‘Phivolcs’ confirmed the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight and stretch for hours.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System further added warnings of waves up to 3 meters (10 feet) above the tide level along some Philippine coasts.

“Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised,” Phivolcs said, asking people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to “immediately evacuate” or “move farther inland.”

The Japanese broadcaster NHK stated that tsunami waves of up to a meter (3 feet) could reach Japan’s southwestern coast about 30 minutes later — by 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. Phivolcs warned of aftershocks to follow

Raymark Gentallan, local police chief of the coastal town of Hinatuan near the earthquake’s epicenter, mentioned that the power has been cut since the earthquake struck the area. 

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the “Ring of Fire,” a belt of volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean that is usually exposed to seismic activity.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, or EMSC, then confirmed that a  quake of magnitude 7.5 had struck at a depth of 63 kilometers (40 miles).

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