Injuries, damages reported after strong Leyte quake

TACLOBAN CITY -– Several people were injured when a mid-size shop collapsed in Kananga, Leyte after a strong earthquake rocked the province Thursday afternoon.

The local police station in Kananga town said in a brief text message that they still have to confirm the number of casualties as teams were sent to check the impact of tremor in Kananga town.

In Tacloban, Mayor Cristina Romualdez said that there was no reported damage as of 5 p.m. Thursday even as she appealed to everyone through her social media account to stay calm.

School children and office workers were told to go home early for fear of aftershocks, causing traffic congestions in the city’s major thoroughfares.

“People at Robinsons Place Tacloban momentarily panicked,” said Lalaine Jiminea, publisher of a local paper who was at the region’s biggest shopping mall when the tremor hit the province.

There was a widespread brownout in Leyte and Samar provinces as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) cut the power supply.

“We had experienced a sudden power outage from NGCP after the quake. We have no idea of the real cause,” the Leyte II Electric Cooperative said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense field office here allayed fears of potential tsunami, saying that “no destructive tsunami threats exist based on available data.”

In an advisory, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the earthquake occurred at 4:03 p.m., with its epicenter located at eight kilometers, west of Jaro, Leyte.

Jaro town is about 33 kilometers northwest of Tacloban, the regional capital.

The tectonic earthquake had a depth of two kilometers. It was felt at Intensity 5 in Tacloban City, Palo, Leyte and Cebu City; Intensity 4 in Tolosa, Leyte; Sagay City, Negros Occidental; Burgos, Surigao del Norte; Intensity 3 in Bogo City, Cebu; Calatrava, Negros Occidental; Intensity 2 in Libjo, San Jose, Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands; and Intensity 1 in Roxas City and La Carlota City, Negros Occidental. Lizbeth Ann Abella & Ahlette Reyes/