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Magnitude 6.5 quake hits Jaro, Leyte

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the island of Leyte on Thursday afternoon, July 6, at 4:03 pm, according to PHIVOLCS.

The quake struck 8km southwest of the town of Jaro at a depth of 2km beneath the island. It was felt at Intensity V in Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte, and even as far as Cebu City.

PHIVOLCS Deputy Director Bartolome Bautista told GMA News' Mel Tiangco that the earthquake was due to the movement of the Leyte segment of the Philippine fault.

"Inaasahan na po natin na mangyayari yan kasi napaka-active ng fault na yan," he said.

Casualty, damage reports

At least two casualties were reported from the quake. A man died and a woman was seriously injured, according to Kananga, Leyte, Mayor Rowena Codilla in a radio dzBB interview.

But Codilla said that she is waiting for more numbers to come in.

"Actually wala pa talaga akong exact na count (ng casualties), naghihintay din kasi kami ng rescue from the province kasi kailangan namin ng mga equipment," she explained.

Codilla also said a commercial building, which has a grocery, hardware and boutique, collapsed following the earthquake.

Aftershocks expected, but no tsunamis

PHIVOLCS deputy director Bark Bautista told GMA News that people should brace for aftershocks, but tsunamis are not expected.

"Pag nasa lupa ang lindol, hindi usually nagkakaroon ng tsunami," he explained.

Meanwhile, in a televised interview, Earthquake Monitoring Division head Ismael Narag told GMA News that residents should inspect their houses for any damage and should be wary of possibly weakened structures.

Eyewitness accounts

"Nagtakbuhan ang mga tao. So far wala kaming nakitang gusali na na-damage pero malakas ang paggalaw ng lupa at nahirapan kaming tumakbo," GMA stringer Jeff Manibay said via live feed from the area.

Marlon Tano, a Leyte farmer and journalist, told AFP the quake knocked him off his feet at his eggplant farm in Borauen, a town near the quake's epicentre.

"It was so strong that I fell," Tano said.

"I saw buses and motorcyles stopping on the highway and people getting off them," he added.

Remembering Yolanda, other quakes

Large parts of the island of Leyte were devastated by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

Huge tsunami-like waves smashed the city of Tacloban and nearby areas, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing.

In February, a 6.5-magnitude quake killed eight people and left more than 250 injured outside the southern city of Surigao.

The following month a 5.9-magnitude tremor killed one person there..

Before the Surigao quakes, the last lethal earthquake to hit the country was a 7.1-magnitude tremor that left more than 220 people dead and destroyed historic churches when it struck the central islands in October 2013.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth's quakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

An initial report by the US Geological Survey posted the quake's intensity at Magnitude 6.9. — With reports from Reuters and Agence-France Presse/KVD, GMA News