No widespread tsunami threat after major earthquake hits Philippines
Flooding image (Shutterstock)

A major 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck near one of the Philippines key tourist hubs on Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey reported.

The quake struck at 08:12 local time (0012 GMT) some five kilometers (three miles) east of Balilihan, in the Bohol region of the archipelago, at a depth of 56 kilometers, the agency said.

The town lies across the Cebu Strait from the popular tourist destination of Cebu City, the country's fifth most populous city, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) away.

USGS issued a yellow warning, after the quake saying "some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional level response."

The temblor was followed by two aftershocks, each measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a Pacific-wide tsunami threat and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The epicenter was 629 kilometers from the capital Manila.

Balilihan has a population of around 18,500, according to the town's official website.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Pacific ring of fire, a chain of islands that are prone to quakes and volcanic eruptions.

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