Thursday, March 25, 2010

6.2-magnitude quake hits Philippine capital

Posted: 25 March 2010 1357 hrs

MANILA: A powerful earthquake was felt in the Philippine capital Manila on Thursday, causing office workers to rush out of buildings, but authorities said there were no immediate reports of damage.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the quake struck in the ocean at 1.29pm (0529 GMT) with a magnitude of 6.2.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 6.1, with its epicentre located 137 kilometres southwest of Manila and at a depth of 72 kilometres.

Office workers rushed out of their buildings in Manila's Makati financial district, while government employees across town hid under their tables, radio reports said.

However, an hour after the quake, Manila's Office of Civil Defence and police said there had not yet been any reports of damage.

Government seismology institute chief Renato Solidum said the quake was felt in varying intensities in suburbs around the capital of 12 million people as well as in nearby provinces.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Moderate quake hits Myanmar

Posted: 13 March 2010 1148 hrs

BANGKOK: A moderate 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar early Saturday, seismologists said.

The tremor hit at 5:49 am (2319 GMT Friday) with an epicentre 115 kilometres (71 miles) north-northwest of Monywa in the centre of the country, at a depth of 105 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of any damage.

- AFP/yb

Monday, March 8, 2010

Strong quake kills at least 51 in Turkey

OKCULAR, Turkey : A powerful earthquake buried sleeping villagers in eastern Turkey early Monday, claiming at least 51 lives and leaving dozens injured, officials said.

The shallow quake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, had an epicentre near the town of Karakocan in Elazig province, the Kandilli observatory in Istanbul said.

Rescuers struggled to dig survivors from the rubble after the tremor struck at 4:32 am (0232 GMT), razing mud-brick houses in five remote mountainous villages in the mainly Kurdish area and killing whole families in their beds.

"It started shaking - first slowly and then violently. I was terrified and began crying. The cupboard fell over and then the television set exploded," said Zeynep Yuksel, a teenager in Okcular, the worst-hit village.

The search-and-rescue operations were called off after about eight hours and preparations quickly began to bury the victims.

"According to the information we have, no one remains under the rubble. The work has been ended," an official from a crisis desk at the governor's office, told AFP.

Visiting the region, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek put the death toll at 57, but crisis desks in Elazig and Ankara both said later that the official toll stood at 51, offering no explanation for the confusion.

At least four of the dead were children.

The tremor left 74 people injured, officials in Elazig said, adding that 34 of them remained hospitalised on Monday afternoon, including one person in serious condition.

The heaviest toll - 18 dead and some 30 houses destroyed - was in Okcular, a Kurdish settlement of some 900 people, nestled in hills at a height of about 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) and accessible only by one narrow road.

"I rushed out after the tremor, looked to one side and saw nothing, then looked to the other side - again nothing. Everything had collapsed," said a middle-age woman who did not give her name.

"I pulled out the two kids from the rubble with bare hands. They were both dead," said the woman, who lost a sister-in-law and two nephews in the quake.

Wrapped in blankets and cuddling babies, women wailed around a bonfire as Red Crescent workers erected tents and distributed food and other emergency supplies.

Villagers scrambled to recover any valuables from the debris as a flurry of aftershocks jolted the area, with the most powerful measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale.

In nearby Yukari Demirci, 15 people perished, among them a family of nine. The remaining victims were in Gocmezler, Kayalik and Yukari Kanatli.

The quake also killed many livestock, the main livelihood for locals.

Officials lamented that shoddy construction exacerbated the disaster as in many other quakes that have hit Turkey in the past.

"Villages consisting mainly of mud-brick houses have been damaged, but we have minimal damage, such as cracks, in buildings made of cement or stone," provincial governor Muammer Erol said.

In Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had instructed the public building company to immediately launch a reconstruction project in the area.

"Mud-brick construction is undoubtedly a local tradition. But unfortunately, it has proved to have a heavy price," he said.

The tremor was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Bitlis, Diyarbakir and Tunceli, sending residents out onto the streets in panic.

Major earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, which is crossed by several active fault-lines.

Two powerful tremors in the heavily-populated and industrialised northwest claimed about 20,000 lives in August and November 1999. - AFP/sc/ms

Friday, March 5, 2010

Strong earthquake strikes off Sumatra coast

An earthquake, centered about 100 miles (165 kilometers) west of Bengkulu in Sumatra, hit shortly after 11 p.m.STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Friday night off Sumatra coast, says U.S. Geological Survey
The center was 13.7 miles (22 kilometers) deep, the USGS said
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries

March 5, 2010 2:29 p.m. EST

(CNN) -- A strong earthquake with magnitude 6.5 struck Friday night in the ocean southwest of Sumatra in Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake, which occurred shortly after 11 p.m., was centered about 100 miles (165 kilometers) west of Bengkulu in Sumatra, and 215 miles (345 kilometers) south of Padang, Sumatra, the USGS said.

The center was 13.7 miles (22 kilometers) deep, the USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a warning after the quake, but said there was a "very small possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts" no more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) from the earthquake's epicenter.

"Authorities in the region near the epicenter should be made aware of this possibility," it said.

The Indonesian Meteorological and Geophysics Agency also did not issue a tsunami warning.

CNN's Andy Saputra contributed to this report

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Taiwan rattled by 6.4 magnitude earthquake

By PETER ENAV,Associated Press Writer -

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked southern Taiwan on Thursday, terrifying residents, disrupting communications and triggering at least one large fire. Twelve people were injured, the National Fire Agency said.

No tsunami alert was issued. The quake was centered in the same mountainous region of rural Kaohsiung county that endured the brunt of the damage from Typhoon Morakot, a devastating storm that killed about 700 people last August.

Taiwanese actor Chu Chung-heng said he and other passengers were close to panic when the high-speed train on which they were traveling was dislodged from its track by the quake.

"Many people in my car were screaming," he said. "I was so scared that I couldn't make a sound. The train shook very hard and I thought it was going to overturn."

Rail service in southern and central Taiwan was suspended, as was the state-of-the-art subway system in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan's second largest with a population of 1.5 million. Kaohsiung is about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Taipei.

In nearby Tainan, a fire broke out in a textile factory shortly after the quake hit, sending huge plumes of black smoke billowing into the air. Power outages struck Taipei and at least one county to the south, and telephone service in many parts of Taiwan was spotty.

Kuo Kai-wen, director of the Central Weather Bureau's Seismology Center, said the quake was not geologically related to the massive temblor that hit Chile last Saturday, but its intensity was unusual for the area.

"This is the biggest quake to hit this region in more than a century," he said.

The quake's epicenter was near the town of Jiashian, especially hard hit by last year's typhoon. A Kaohsiung county official told CTI TV news that some temporary housing built for typhoon survivors collapsed.

The Ministry of Defense said troops were dispatched to Jiashian to report on the extent of the damage.

In nearby Liugui an unidentified high school student described the quake as terrifying. "Everyone was running out of the classroom, and some people fell in the rush," she told ETTV.

CTI said one person was slightly injured by falling debris in Kaohsiung, and a woman was hospitalized after a wall collapsed on her scooter in the southern city of Chiayi. Also in Chiayi, one person was hurt by a falling tree, government-owned Central News Agency said.

A spokesman for President Ma Ying-jeou said authorities had been instructed to follow the quake situation closely and take steps to mitigate damage and dislocation. Ma was widely criticized for his government's slow response to last year's typhoon.

The presidential office said he planned to visit Tainan on Thursday afternoon.

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan but most are minor and cause little or no damage.

However, a 7.6-magnitude temblor in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people. In 2006 a 6.7-magnitude quake south of Kaohsiung severed undersea cables and disrupted telephone and Internet service for millions throughout Asia.