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Two powerful earthquakes hit the Philippines

GreenWatch Desk Earthquake 2023-12-03, 9:37am

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Two powerful earthquakes have hit the Philippines' second-largest island of Mindanao, prompting initial fears of a potential "destructive tsunami".

The US Geological Survey measured the first tremor late on Saturday at 7.6 magnitude, and the one that followed shortly afterwards at 6.4.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the quakes were 7.4 and 6.1 magnitude.

The US Tsunami Warning System later said the tsunami threat "has passed".

"Minor sea level fluctuations may occur in some coastal areas," it said in a statement.

Earlier, residents of coastal areas of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental had been told to evacuate to higher ground after the first earthquake at about 22:37 local time (14:37 GMT) off Mindanao's eastern coast.

People in several towns not far from the quake's epicentre were seen rushing out of buildings and staying in open areas. In Butuan City, patients were evacuated from a hospital.

In the Hinatuan municipality, crowds gathered at evacuations centres.

In Japan, north-east of the Philippines, tsunami waves of up to 0.4m (1.3ft) were later observed on some outlying islands.

There have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries in the Philippines or Japan.

The two island nations are part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" - a zone of major seismic activity which has one of the world's most active fault lines, reports BBC.