The power was knocked out and roads as well as bridges were damaged as the underwater quake, said to be long and violent, hit outside the island of Samar in eastern Philippines.

A 54-year-old woman was killed and her 5-year-old grandson was injured as a house broke down on another island, Associated Press (AP) writes.

Marivic Singco, at the aid organisation Plan International, took shelter under a restaurant table in the city of Tacloban on the Leyte Island when the quack struck.

He told BBC: “It lasted for about half a minute; it felt so long! It was very strong and getting stronger. Tables were shaking violently. Other customers started to run for the door, but we stayed where we were until it stopped.

“I was really very scared and we don’t know if there will be more shocks.”

The quake had a depth of 21.7 miles and hit 66 miles east of Samar Island, the US Geological Survey said.

Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine disaster-response agency, told AP that people on Samar or neighbouring islands should evacuate until the tsunami threat was over.

“Don’t sleep, especially those in eastern seaboard … because there might be aftershocks,” he said.

The tsunami warnings carried out for nine Asian countries including Indonesia, Japan and Taiwan have now been lifted, writes the BBC.