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Earthquake Rocks Southern Philippines

March 5, 2002

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) _ A powerful earthquake rocked the southern Philippines at early Wednesday, waking up residents and causing a widespread power outage, officials said.

At least three people were treated at hospitals for cuts and bruises from falling objects in their homes in the city of General Santos, about 600 southeast of Manila, said city council member Eduardo Leyson.

The earthquake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, struck around 5:15 a.m. and was centered about 150 miles southwest of General Santos, said Mylene Carlos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Leyson said concrete fences around several houses in General Santos collapsed. He said a large steel water, which supplied water to 1,000 homes, also collapsed.

In Zamboanga city, 190 miles west of General Santos, people were shaken awake by the temblor but no one was reported hurt.

The earthquake, felt in wide areas in various intensities on the main southern island of Mindanao, also caused a power outage in Iligan City north of General Santos.

Carlos said there were no indications that the quake set off a tsunami, a powerful and destructive ocean wave that can be caused by a quake.

The Philippine lies in the Pacific ``ring of fire″ where volcanic activities and earthquakes are common.