MANILLA: The Philippines cancelled a tsunami warning in the country’s north on Wednesday, hours after a major earthquake struck neighbouring Taiwan.

Evacuation orders were issued for coastal areas in the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Isabela after the 7.4-magnitude earthquake triggered tsunami warnings in Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.

However, few people in the lightly populated northern regions appear to have responded to the orders, and the tsunami warning was lifted after a couple of hours.

“Based on available data of our sea level monitoring stations facing the epicentral area, no significant sea level disturbances have been recorded since 07:58 am (2358 GMT Tuesday) up until this cancellation,“ the state seismology agency said in an advisory.

The agency had initially warned of “high tsunami waves” based on wave models.

The quake struck Taiwan’s east just before 0000 GMT, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Marjorie Ablao from the Aparri municipal disaster office in Cagayan province said residents had refused to leave their coastal homes despite the tsunami threat.

“We have yet to receive any report of actual evacuations,“ she said.

On Itbayat island municipality, which is part of Batanes province and is about 350 kilometres (217 miles) south of the epicentre of the quake, residents were unbothered by the tsunami warning.

“We do not need to evacuate anyone because no one here lives below 100 metres above the waterline,“ police corporal Jerome Estoy told AFP.

“We did not feel the earthquake but we saw the tsunami advisory.”

Estoy said local fishermen had been warned “to be careful” but were allowed to go out to sea, and normal inter-island ferry services were operating.

The seismological agency corrected an earlier advisory that said 23 provinces would be affected by the tsunami. The advisory did not affect the capital Manila.

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