As people were settling for the night, an unprecedented earthquake, reminiscent of the destructive Negros Earthquake last February, rocked Eastern Visayas and CARAGA region in Mindanao on Friday night that officially registered at Magnitude 7.6 according to PHIVOLCS-DOST. The epicenter of the quake, which is of tectonic origin, was located 112 kilometer east of Guian town, Eastern Samar. The seismology agency also identified the subduction of the Philippine Trench as the cause of the quake which could have generated a destructive tsunami.
Few minutes after the strongest tremor at exactly 8:47 pm, PHIVOLCS issued Tsunami Alert No. 3 which required immediate evacuation of all population in the coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean, including the provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte. Fortunately, no evident tsunami or destructive waves were monitored in the two-hour observation period. The agency then issued a Tsunami Alert cancellation at past midnight Saturday, September 1.
Initial television reports on Friday and early Saturday, several infrastructures were reportedly destroyed but no major effects on lives and property. So far, only one resident from Cagayan de Oro City has died due to an ensuing landslide while apparent destructions are being assessed in several provinces affected, especially on roads, bridges and buildings.
PHIVOLCS meanwhile advised the public, especially locals in affected areas and nearby provinces to be alert for continued aftershocks which could last for up to a month.
For real time update on the Philippine Trench earthquake, visit PHIVOLCS-DOST website.