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Woman killed in 7.6 Philippines quake; official says not to sleep

August 31, 2012 |  9:55 am

Philippines

A woman was killed after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit off the eastern coast of the Philippines, disaster officials said Friday. Though officials initially attributed her death to a landslide, later media reports quoted officials saying a house had collapsed.

A 5-year-old boy was also injured.

The death, the only fatality to be reported so far from the quake, happened in Cagayan de Oro City, the same area where five homes were damaged in flash floods, forcing families to evacuate. Power was reportedly out in several towns across central and southern areas of the country.

Government officials in the Philippines urged people in threatened coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground and advised boats at sea to stay in the deeper parts of the ocean until the threat passed. As it grew late, disaster response chief Benito Ramos urged people to stay awake.

“Don't sleep, especially those in the eastern seaboard … because there might be aftershocks,” Ramos said in a nationally broadcast advisory, according to Associated Press.

As of late Friday evening in the Philippines, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had canceled the tsunami warning it had earlier issued across Indonesia and much of the Pacific.

The quake did generate a tsunami, the center said, which may have been destructive along coasts near its epicenter. Boats and coastal structures might still be in danger for several hours due to rapid currents, it added, urging local authorities to make their own determinations.

Filipinos, who have come to rely on the Web and social media during disasters such as rampant flooding earlier this summer, were frustrated that the website of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology was unavailable at some points after the quake. “It only works when you don’t need it,” one Twitter user complained.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: A resident sifts through the debris of a collapsed house in Cagayan De Oro city in the southern Philippines following a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck off its eastern coast late Friday. Credit: Froilan Gallardo / Associated Press 

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