6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes resort town south of Manila

The 6.2-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Calatagan town, some 130km south of Manila, at a depth of 112km. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM USGS

MANILA – A powerful earthquake hit a popular resort town south of the Philippine capital Manila on Thursday morning, sending tens of thousands fleeing buildings across a sprawling metropolis and in nearby provinces.

The United States Geological Service said the 6.2-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Calatagan town, in Mindoro province, some 130km south of Manila, at a depth of 112km.

Posts on social media showed people evacuating private and government buildings.

Employees in the main financial district of Makati were seen running out of their offices and onto the streets. Government agencies, including the complex housing the office of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, reported cancelling meetings to evacuate their staff.

Calatagan police chief Emil Mendoza said he and his staff rushed outside following the tremor.

“It was a bit strong. We had to run outside,” Major Mendoza told AFP.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, but the disaster authorities have been deployed to assess the impact of the tremor, Maj Mendoza said.

Calatagan disaster officer Ronald Torres said the quake lasted between 30 seconds and a minute.

Mr Diego Mariano, information officer at the Civil Defence Office, said the authorities were assessing the impact of the quake.

“As at now, no major damage or casualties... Assessment still ongoing,” Mr Mariano told reporters in a message.

The state seismological agency warned of aftershocks but ruled out tsunami waves due to the tremor’s depth. 

Runways and taxiways at Ninoy Aquino International Airport were temporarily closed to inspect for any damage to the pavement, according to the country’s Transportation Department. 

Operation of the capital’s metro system was also halted while tracks were checked for possible damage. 

Images on social media showed a crane truck at a Manila port as it swayed from the force of the tremor. 

Quakes are a daily occurrence in the Philippines, which sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic as well as volcanic activity that stretches from Japan through South-east Asia and across the Pacific basin.

In October 2013, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Bohol Island in the central Philippines, triggering landslides and killing more than 200 people.

Old churches in the birthplace of Catholicism in the Philippines were badly damaged. Nearly 400,000 were displaced and tens of thousands of houses were damaged due to the quake. REUTERS, AFP

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