7.6 magnitude earthquake in Samar, Philippines

USGS map on intensity of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, felt in different areas nationwide as per 10:30PM Manila time.

Few hours ago, a strong earthquake shook the eastern portion of the Philippines including Cebu with the magnitude of 7.6 happened at 94 km (58 miles) E of Sulangan, Samar, Philippines according to the United States Geological Survey.

The tsunami alert has been issued by the USGS to the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, and Palau. A tsunami warning remains in effect for Indonesia and the Philippines, though it has been lifted for Japan, Taiwan and several other Pacific states and islands as of this moment.

The head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Renato Solidum said that the bureau initially recorded a magnitude of 7.7. Solidum said that residents living along the coastline of eastern Samar Island, which was some 66 miles from the quake’s epicenter, had been advised to evacuate to high ground in case of a tsunami.

The earthquake destroyed roads and bridges in the Philippines as people are fleeing to higher ground, Reuters cites Samar congressman Ben Evardone as saying. One person was confirmed dead and one was injured and after the earthquake sparked  flash flooding in Cagayan de Oro, the village’s mayor said. Seven houses were also reported destroyed in the village, while several towns and cities were without power in the central and southern Philippines, AP cites local radio as saying. Cellphone signals are reportedly to be disrupted by the earthquake according to some of my friends. Some areas affected by the quake have experienced power shortage at this moment.

The Philippines is located on the southern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a 40,000 km long horseshoe-shaped area where 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes take place.