World News

Strong quake in Taiwan, Philippines; no damage reports

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A 6.9 magnitude quake struck in an ocean area north of the Philippines on Monday and was felt throughout Taiwan, officials said, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no mass tsunami warnings.

Philippine authorities forecast little damage after the 10:59 a.m. (0259 GMT) quake that struck 300 km (180 miles) off the Batan Islands of the Philippines and 314 km (195 miles) southeast of Taiwan.

Philippine officials warned people on the coast to watch for a tidal surge, though it was unlikely to cause casualties or damage, while the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center advised that local tsunamis on coastlines within 100 km (60 miles) of the quake’s center were possible.

The United States Geological Survey put the quake at a depth of 10 km (six miles), while Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said it was 20 km (12 miles) deep and registered 6.6 on the Richter scale, which is the local measurement standard.

The quake shook buildings in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.

Taiwan’s TSMC, the world No. 1 contract chipmaker, said the quake had no impact on its plants in northern Taiwan. UMC, the world No. 2 chipmaker, also reported no impact.

Earthquakes occur frequently in Taiwan, which lies on a seismically active stretch of the Pacific basin.

One of Taiwan’s worst-recorded quakes occurred in September 1999. Measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, it killed more than 2,400 people and destroyed or damaged 50,000 buildings.

Reporting by Ralph Jennings and Baker Li in Taipei and Manny Mogato in Manila; Editing by Sugita Katyal