21 provinces under tsunami alert after magnitude 8 Mexico quake

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People gather on a street after an earthquake hit Mexico City. (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — Communities on the Pacific Ocean coast of 21 provinces have been placed on alert for a potentially destructive tsunami after a magnitude 8 earthquake struck off the southern coast of Mexico late on Thursday (12:49 p.m. Friday, Philippine standard time).

“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicenter within minutes to hours,” Phivolcs said, although it stressed that “no evacuation order is in effect.”

The provinces under the tsunami alert are:

    1. Batanes
    2. Cagayan
    3. Ilocos Norte
    4. Isabela
    5. Quezon
    6. Aurora
    7. Camarines Norte
    8. Camarines Sur
    9. Albay
    10. Catanduanes
    11. Sorsogon
    12. Leyte
    13. Southern Leyte
    14. Eastern Samar
    15. Northern Samar
    16. Davo Del Norte
    17. Davao Del Sur
    18. Davao Occidental
    19. Davao Oriental
    20. Surigao del Norte
    21. Surigao del Sur

The quake shook buildings across the center and south of Mexico, sending people running into the streets in the capital.

Mexico’s civil protection agency said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the country since a devastating 1985 tremor that toppled buildings and killed thousands.

Power went out in some neighborhoods of Mexico City after the quake struck there just before midnight.

“I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do. I nearly fell over,” said Luis Carlos Briceno, an architect, 31, who was visiting Mexico City.

The epicenter was 123 kilometers (76 miles) southwest of the town of Pijijiapan, at a depth of 33 km (21 miles). Widespread, hazardous tsunami waves were possible, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.