A pregnant woman has died, four people have been injured, and nine others are missing after a powerful earthquake struck the Philippines’ second-largest island, Mindanao.
Defense Minister Gilbert Teodoro said 529 families were affected.
The US Geological Survey measured the first tremor late Saturday with a magnitude of 7.6, followed by four major aftershocks whose intensity exceeded 6.0.
The quakes triggered tsunami warnings that were later lifted.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology measured the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.4, and recorded at least 600 aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 1.4 to 6.2.
Earlier, residents of coastal areas in Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental were asked to evacuate to higher ground after the first earthquake occurred at around 22:37 local time (14:37 GMT) off the eastern coast of Mindanao.
In several towns not far from the epicenter, people were seen exiting buildings and staying in open areas. In Butuan City, patients were evacuated from the hospital.
In Hinatuan municipality – about 21 kilometers from the epicenter – crowds gathered at evacuation centres. Disaster officials there are checking villages for damage and casualties.
A disaster official in the city of Belisg told AFP that there were no reports of major damage to buildings or infrastructure so far, but some roads in the city in Surigao del Sur province cracked during the quake and aftershocks.
In Japan, northeast of the Philippines, tsunami waves up to 0.4 meters (1.3 feet) high were later observed on some remote islands.
The two island nations are part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an area of high seismic activity that includes one of the most active fault lines in the world.
The Mindanao earthquakes come about two weeks after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the island, killing at least nine people, shaking buildings and collapsing part of the roof of a shopping mall.
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