Quakes jolt Philippines, Taiwan

Taipei: A series of earthquakes has jolted Taiwan, the southern Philippines and ocean depths off the Solomon Islands. At least nine Filipinos were hurt as they slept. The Dispatch News Desk reports.

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake rattled the southern Philippines on Sunday, injuring at least nine residents as they slept. A stronger 6.5 quake caused some damage in Taiwan on Sunday. There were no initial reports of casualties. Hours earlier, a 5.5-magnitude quake rattled the Pacific seabed off the Solomon Islands but triggered no reports of damage or Tsunami alert.

Taiwan television said the local quake triggered a gas explosion in the island center but gave no further initial details. Buildings in the capital Taipei swayed but there were no reports of casualties. The US Geological Survey said the tremor was centered 38 kilometers (24 miles) southeast of the city of T’ai-chung.

The quake that rattled the Philippines’ southern region of North Cotabato damaged more than 30 homes and triggered a landslide.
Governor Emmylou Tolentino-Mendoza said children were among at least nine people injured by falling debris while they slept.
Boulders rolled down a mountainside, she said, adding that it was a “big relief that no motorist was passing through our highway.”
Officials said landslides had also damaged water supply pipes, a bridge approach and school buildings in the village of Kimadzil.

The Solomon Islands area quake was centered 84 kilometers from the district of Chirovanga, said the US Geological Survey.
A green alert was issued, indicating a very low risk of casualties or economic loss. Last February, the Solomon town of Lata was devastated by a tsunami that killed at least 10 people after a magnitude 8 earthquake. In 2007 a similar-sized quake also spawned a tsunami that killed at least 52 people and left thousands homeless.

Earthquakes are frequent around the so-called “Rim of Fire,” a zone of tectonic activity around the fringe of Earth crust filled by the Pacific Ocean.