An earthquake has occurred off the coast of the Philippines, according to CNN. The Friday morning 7.9 magnitude rumble has caused a tsunami warning for the area.
The quake was about 20 miles deep, reports the U.S. Geological Survey. Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and other areas have all been placed under a tsunami warning, says the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said according to CNN.
There are no immediate reports of damages or injuries from the quake, which occured just before 8:50 p.m. local time; however, a Volcanolgy Institute in the Philippines believes damage has occured but hasn't been reported yet, according to NBC.
The center of the earthquake was about 65 miles southeast of Guiuan, a town in the East Samar province of the Philippines.
"The quake was very strong and the hotel guests were panicking. Most of them went outside," said Ed Serrano, the head of security at the Marco Polo Hotel, according to CNN. "Now the situation is under control and we are waiting for official reports on how strong the quake was."
The hotel is located in Davao, a city about 250 miles south of the center of the earthquake.
Areas where the potential tsunami could hit have already began evacuations. "My neighbors and I have evacuated. We are now on our way to the mountains," fisherman Marlon Lagramado told the Associated Press in a telephone interview from Guiwan.
CNN reported at 9:52 a.m. that the tsunami warning for Japan, Taiwan and several Pacific islands had been lifted. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's tsunami center is maintaining the warnings in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Samar congressman Ben Evardone sent a text message to reporters: "Strong earthquake here in Taft, Eastern Samar! And it lasted very long too!"
Paul Caruso, of the USGS, in a telephone interview with Sky TV, said, "If you are anywhere near the coast I recommend that you head to higher ground."
Renato Solidum, the head of the Philippine seismology agency, also instructed people on the eastern Samar Island coast to evacuate to higher ground in preparation for the potential tsunami.
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