7.6-quake off Philippines triggers tsunami alert

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A 7.6-magnitude undersea quake struck off the eastern coast of the Philippines late Friday, triggering tsunami warnings across the region. At least one house collapsed and power was knocked out in several Philippine cities, local radio reported.

A tsunami alert originally was issued for several countries including Japan and for Pacific islands as far away as the Northern Marianas, but most of them were soon lifted, leaving warnings only for the Philippines, Indonesia and Palau, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

“My neighbors and I have evacuated. We are now on our way to the mountains,” fisherman Marlon Lagramado told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the coastal town of Guiwan in the Philippine province of Eastern Samar.

The quake, with preliminary magnitude 7.6, hit at a depth of 34.9 kilometers (21.7 miles) and was centered 106 kilometers (66 miles) east of Samar Island, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The head of the Philippine seismology agency, Renato Solidum, said that residents living along the coastline of eastern Samar Island were advised to evacuate to high ground in case of the tsunami.

A local radio station reported one houses collapsed in southern Cagayan de Oro city and there was no electricity in several other towns and cities across the central and southern Philippines.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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