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Tsunami warning issued for Philippines after 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes

Damage on the island of Mindanao following an earthquake in 2019 (AFP via Getty Images)
Damage on the island of Mindanao following an earthquake in 2019 (AFP via Getty Images)

A powerful earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 has struck off the coast of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, and tsunami warnings have been issued for southern Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Palau and Malaysia.

The quake struck at 10.37pm on Saturday (2.37pm GMT) at a depth of 32 kilometres or 20 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

A video shared on social media appears to capture the moment the quake hit at a bar in Boston in the province of Davao Oriental, Philippines.

Patrons sitting at tables on an outside patio were heard screaming as they crouched for cover while the ground shook. Red wine spilled onto the ground while glass could be heard smashing in the background of the footage.

Southwestern Japanese coasts were evacuated following warnings that tsunami waves would hit the area on Saturday evening.

The Philippine Seismology Agency Phivolcs said the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight (4pm GMT) and continue for hours.

The US Tsunami Warning System said there could be waves of up to three metres above the tide level along some Philippine coasts.

However it later said: "Based on all available data ... the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed.

"Minor sea level fluctuations may occur in some coastal areas."

Meanwhile the Philippine Seismology Agency Phivolcs said: "Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised."

It asked people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to "immediately evacuate" or "move farther inland".

The Japanese broadcaster NHK said tsunami waves of up to a metre were expected to reach Japan's southwestern coast around 30 minutes later - by 1.30am on Sunday (4.30pm GMT on Saturday).

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said a quake of magnitude 7.5 had struck at a depth of 63 km (39 miles).The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said based on the magnitude and location, it expected tsunami waves to hit the southern Philippines and parts of Indonesia, Palau and Malaysia.

Owners of boats in harbors, estuaries or shallow coastal waters off the two provinces should secure their boats and move away from the waterfront, the quake agency said in its tsunami warning. Boats already at sea should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised, it said.

The Philippines, one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, experiences regular earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of seismic faults around the ocean. The archipelago is also lashed by about 20 typhoons and storms each year.

Raymark Gentallan, local police chief of the coastal town of Hinatuan near the earthquake's epicentre, said power has been knocked out since the quake struck, but disaster response teams have not monitored any casualties or damage yet.