In a tense night for Southeast Asia, the specter of a tsunami loomed after a powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake jolted the coast of the Philippines on Saturday. The quake, reported by the USGS to have struck around 10:37 p.m. local time near Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, sent ripples of concern across the region.
Measuring at a depth of approximately 32.8 km, the quake raised alarm, prompting the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to issue a Tsunami Warning for provinces including Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental. Urgent advisories instructed immediate evacuations to higher ground or further inland.
As Sunday dawned, the NOAA’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center declared the passing of the immediate threat. However, PHIVOLCS’ website maintained tsunami warnings for affected areas, signifying a cautious approach in the aftermath.
Initially spanning a vast area beyond Mindanao, the potential tsunami threat encompassed a radius of 1,000 km, extending concern to the central and northern Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and even reaching Palau to the east.
Fear gripped authorities as they projected wave heights of 3-9 feet along some Philippine coasts and 1-3 feet in Pulau. Fortunately, no reports of tsunami-related damages have surfaced yet.
The Philippines, nestled in the volatile Ring of Fire, encounters frequent seismic and volcanic activities. The country’s position between major fault lines has made it susceptible to tremors, as highlighted by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
As the night waned and the immediate danger passed, the vigilance and readiness of the affected regions stood as a testament to the preparedness efforts in the face of such potential natural disasters.