A powerful earthquake has struck the southern Philippines, claiming the lives of at least 15 people and injuring some 126 others, officials say.
The casualties occurred on Friday after a tremor measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale rocked the city of Surigao, the capital of Surigao del Norte province, at a depth of 27 kilometers at 10:00 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).
As a result of the earthquake, water supply in the area was interrupted, a bridge and a hotel collapsed, some homes were damaged and power was knocked out. Surigao’s airport was also temporarily closed due to cracks on the runway.
Reports said hundreds of panicked residents had rushed to open spaces and spent the night in parks and sheltered areas.
In a radio interview, Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines’ seismic agency, said that 89 aftershocks had been recorded and more could be expected but they were unlikely to cause serious damage.
Friday’s quake was the strongest since the city was rocked by a 6.9 quake in 1879, he noted.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was no tsunami threat from the earthquake.
The Philippines lies on the geologically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” where quakes and volcanic eruptions are common.
The last deadly quake in the Southeast Asian country was a 7.1-magnitude one that shook the central islands in October, 2013, leaving more than 220 people dead and destroying historic monuments.