Residents on the Philippines’ Pacific coast described how they ran for their lives when a major offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami warning, as thousands returned home today.
Most people had fled the east coast by the time waves of up to half a meter (20 inches) hit coastal areas within an hour of the 7.6-magnitude quake striking offshore late Friday, civil defence chief Benito Ramos said.
“They feared they would be swamped by waves as large as those in the (March 2011) Japan tsunami, so it was not difficult to convince them to leave,” he told AFP.
Police said 132,241 people evacuated overnight, during which the Philippines was rocked by 139 aftershocks, the strongest recorded at a magnitude of 6.4, the state seismology office said.
Everyone had since returned home, national police spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo said in a statement.
A woman was killed and two other people were injured on the southern island of Mindanao and the eastern island of Leyte, he said.
Evacuations were ordered for the east coasts of the two large islands, as well as Samar island, impoverished areas that are pounded annually by many of the up to 20 typhoons and storms that hit the country every year.