Strong quake hits Philippines, 20 killed
Manila – At least twenty people have been killed after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake collapsed buildings and roofs and cracked roads Tuesday morning in Philippines.
The quake was felt across the central region, and people rushed out of homes and buildings, including hospitals, as aftershocks continued. Offices and schools were closed for a national holiday, which may have saved lives.
The temblor, which struck at 8:12 AM (local time), was centered about 56 kilometers below Carmen town on Bohol Island and did not cause a tsunami.
Photos from Cebu broadcast on TV stations showed a fallen concrete 2-story building, and reports said an 8-month-old baby and a second person were pulled out alive.
Cebu province, about 570 kilometers south of Manila, has a population of more than 2.6 million people. Nearby Bohol has 1.2 million people and is popular among foreigners because of its beach and island resorts.
Vilma Yorong, a Bohol provincial government employee, said she was in a village hall in Maribojoc town when “the lights suddenly went out and we felt the earthquake.”
“We ran out of the building, and outside, we hugged trees because the tremors were so strong,” she told a news agency by phone. “When the shaking stopped, I ran to the street and there I saw several injured people. Some were saying their church has collapsed.”
She said that she and the others ran up a mountain fearing a tsunami would follow the quake.
Tuesday is a national holiday for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, and that may have reduced casualties. The quake also was deep below the surface, unlike the 6.9-magnitude temblor last year in waters near Negros Island, also in the central Philippines, that killed nearly 100 people.