By JIM GOMEZ
Officials said that after the tsunami warning, thousands of people rushed out in panic from their homes and jammed up roads as they climbed higher grounds.
According to the US Geological Survey, Saturday’s quake had a 7.6 magnitude and was felt at a distance of 32km (20 miles).
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially said that it expects tsunamis to strike the southern Philippines, Indonesia, Palau, and Malaysia but then dropped their tsunami warning.
USGS reported further quakes on Sunday, with magnitudes of 6.9 and 6.6. However, there were no tsunami warnings.
Authorities in Japan issued orders for evacuation late Saturday night, which affected thousands of people.
Shieldon Isidoro of the city disaster mitigation chief told the Associated Press that a pregnant woman was killed when she was struck by a concrete wall measuring 15ft (4m). The wall collapsed during the shaking and caused her to flee from her Tagum City home, in Davao del Norte Province. The woman’s husband and daughter suffered injuries.
The ground began to shake when Mr Isidoro was home. He said that two other children, their parents, and themselves jumped out of a window on the second floor in panic. They landed safely, however, after landing on some grass.
The swaying started out weak. It quickly got worse and I couldn’t stand. “My perfume bottles fell from a table and pictures on my walls swung. I also heard outside people yelling ‘Get Out, Get out, Earthquake, Earthquake!’
He was worried about the possibility of many deaths in Tagum. The city has approximately 300,000 residents. Mr Isidoro had conducted regular drills to prevent injuries and death.
Officials said that hundreds of patients evacuated a Tagum hospital were later brought back to their original location after an inspection revealed no significant damage.
Officials said that thousands of people remained outside for several hours due to fears about the earthquake and tsunami, even in towns where there was a heavy overnight rain.
Gilberto Teodoro Jr, the Defence Secretary said at a press conference that while authorities are assessing its impact, initial reports indicate there were no significant damages except for two bridges and some pockets of power outages. He said that one death and a few minor injuries were reported.
Teresito Bácolcol, the head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PIVS), told AP that shortly after the quake struck, his agency advised residents in the provinces of Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental, located near the epicenter of the underwater quake to evacuate immediately to higher ground.
Photos posted by the town of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur on Facebook show that residents fled to higher ground overnight, either on foot, in vehicles, tricycles, or trucks.
Officials said that many villagers who had fled their homes to evacuate centres on Saturday returned home to return to them.
Civil aviation officials have concluded that there has been no significant damage to airports south of the border and no interruption in flight operations.
The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to disasters in the world. This is due to the fact that it lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire – a ring of faults surrounding the ocean. About 20 typhoons or storms hit the archipelago each year.
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