Tsunami Warning Lifted After 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake

DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES – The Southeast Asian region breathed a sigh of relief as the tsunami threat following a 7.6 magnitude earthquake off the Philippines coast was lifted. The quake, which occurred on Saturday night, had sparked fears of a potential tsunami across the region.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake struck at 10:37 p.m. local time, or 9:37 a.m. Eastern Time, near the province of Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, the second-largest island of the Philippines. The tremor originated from approximately 32.8 kilometers or 20 miles beneath the sea, causing significant alarm.

In response to the seismic activity, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued a tsunami warning for the Philippines. Residents of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental were advised to evacuate to higher ground or move inland to avoid the potential impact of the tsunami.

However, by early Sunday morning local time, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced that the tsunami threat had passed. Despite this announcement, the PHIVOLCS website continued to list tsunami warnings for a short period.

The fear of a tsunami was not confined to the Philippines. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had initially warned that hazardous tsunami waves could potentially affect regions within a 1,000-kilometer radius of the earthquake’s epicenter. This included parts of Indonesia and Malaysia to the south of the Philippines and the country’s central and northern regions. The island nation of Palau, situated east of the Philippines, was also included in the tsunami warning.

The threat of a tsunami in the region brought back haunting memories of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The 9.1 magnitude quake, one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, triggered a series of powerful tsunami waves that reached up to 30 meters. The disaster claimed the lives of an estimated 230,000 to 280,000 people in 14 countries, with Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and the Maldives being the most brutal hit.

Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire and nestled between two major fault lines, the Philippines is no stranger to seismic and volcanic activities. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the country frequently experiences high levels of such activities, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.