Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Magnitude 4 quake sends jitters to Pagadianons

Residents from the coastal areas here are on the verge of fear and panic after a magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck Mindanao early Monday evening.

Lito Casinillo, training officer of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) explained the earthquake was tectonic in origin, which struck south-west of Cotabato, quoting a report from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS has posted the earthquake's epicenter to be somewhere at 80 kilometers Southeast of Davao or 40 kilometers south east of Mati, Davao Oriental.

Phivolcs also said the quake occurred at 6:16 p.m. and was felt at Intensity 4 in Pagadian City, Cotabato City, Isulan and Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and in Matutum, South Cotabato.

Pagadian City is part of the Cotabato trench along the Mindanao fault, which triggered an Intensity 7.2 quake and a tsunami on Aug. 16, 1976 that destroyed several areas in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Casinillo said that such an earthquake, described by Phivolcs as “moderately strong,” could become dangerous when this reaches magnitude 6 or more, since this possibly will produce big tidal waves or tsunami.

No report of damage or injury was however reported after the quake but it stunned residents after tremors were felt as far as San Jose District, which is about two kilometers away from this city’s coast.

“Such an earthquake normally occurs since we experience more or less 20 tremors daily but per experience nato, dili ra kaayo to lawom ug bug-at,” Casinillo said.

But the OCD official said residents should not overlook safety measures but still brace for the worse and stand by for aftershocks as he said city dwellers have only 25 minutes from the start of a strong earthquake to evacuate to a safe and higher ground.

He likewise urged people to avoid sending prank text messages that would do nothing to help ease the worries of other residents about their trauma of the 1976 earthquake.