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Strong Quake Rattles Philippines

September 2, 1998

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 shook the southern Philippines Wednesday, sending panicked residents fleeing from buildings. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or damage.

Tsunami warnings were issued because of the earthquake’s shallow depth, just 6 miles below the ocean. However, no quake-related waves were reported, seismologist Robert Tiglao said.

The quake was centered at sea about 88 miles from Mati in Davao province and hit at 4:38 p.m. local time, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

Mati is about 630 miles southeast of Manila.

The earthquake was felt in at least 10 provinces, seismologists said.

In General Santos city, government and private employees ran out of their offices but soon returned.

``Everybody was scampering for safety and there was panic everywhere,″ said Eva Baliao, a city hall employee.

In Davao City, some students suffered slight injuries as they rushed out of the six-story University of the Immaculate Conception building. Classes resumed half an hour later.

The Office of Civil Defense said it put provincial units on alert because of the strength of the earthquake, but had received no immediate reports of deaths or serious damage.

Seismologists said the quake was caused by a movement of the Philippine fault zone.

A magnitude 7 earthquake is considered a major earthquake and can cause massive destruction if it hits a highly populated area. In 1990, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 struck the northern Philippines, killing at least 2,000 people.

The Philippines is located in one of the most earthquake-prone regions in the world.

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