Earthquake hits Philippine capital, nearby provinces

Strong earthquake hits the Philippines
Strong earthquake hits the Philippines

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the Philippine capital and nearby provinces early on Saturday, forcing people out of their beds and into streets amid heavy monsoon rains.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said no casualties were immediately reported from the quake, which caused minor damages to infrastructure and houses in the affected areas.

The tremor's epicentre was off Calatagan town in Batangas province, 93 kilometres south of Manila, the country's national disaster agency said.

Dozens of aftershocks were recorded since then, including one with a magnitude of 5.5 that occurred just eight minutes later, according to Phivolcs.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said no tsunami was expected from the quakes, which were both tectonic and came from a depth of more than 100 kilometres.

"When an earthquake is that deep, we don't expect major damage and/or for it to generate a tsunami, but there will be aftershocks," he told a Manila radio station.

The quake hit as Metro Manila and nearby provinces were battered by heavy monsoon rains, causing floods that were chest deep in some areas.

More than 14,000 people have been evacuated as floodwaters rise in the Manila suburban city of Marikina City and nearby Rizal province, said Mark Timbal, spokesman for the national disaster agency.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said government agencies were on top of the situation with the earthquake and the flooding.

"We ask residents of affected areas to remain alert and vigilant, take precautionary measures, and cooperate with their respective local authorities in case of an evacuation," Roque said.

The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where about 90 per cent of the world's earthquakes take place.

A 7.1-magnitude quake that killed more than 220 people in the central Philippines in October 2013 was the last major quake to hit the country.

In July 1990, more than 2,400 people were killed on the northern island of Luzon in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest ever to hit the country.


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