A strong earthquake kills 2 people and injures dozens in the northern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – A strong earthquake killed at least two people and injured dozens in the northern Philippines on Wednesday, where tremors triggered small landslides and damaged buildings and churches, sending terrified crowds and sick people hospitals in the capital rushed. Outdoor.

The 7-magnitude quake was centered in hard-hit Abra province in a mountainous area, said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

“The floor shook like I was on a swing and the lights suddenly went out. We rushed out of the office and I heard screams and some of my colleagues were crying,” said Michael Brillantes, a security officer at the town of Abra de Lagangilang, near the epicenter.

“It was the most powerful earthquake I’ve ever felt and I thought the floor was going to open,” Brillantes told The Associated Press by cellphone.

A resident died when he was hit by falling cement slabs at his home in Abra, where at least 25 others were injured and mostly confined to hospitals, authorities said.

A construction worker was hit by debris and died in the mountain town of La Trinidad in Benguet province, where some roads were closed by landslides and boulders. Five people were injured when rocks and debris hit their SUV and a truck on a mountain road in Muntanya province near Benguet, authorities said.

Many houses and buildings had cracked walls, including some that collapsed in Abra, where new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office less than a month ago, had planned to travel to meet with victims and local officials.

The Red Cross released an image of a small three-story building leaning precariously toward a debris-covered road in Abra. Video captured by a panicked witness showed parts of an old stone church tower being washed away and then falling in a cloud of dust on top of a hill.

Patients, some in wheelchairs, and medical staff were evacuated from at least two hospitals in Manila, about 300 kilometers (200 miles) south of Lagangilang, but were later told to return after engineers they only found small cracks in the walls.

The earthquake’s strength was downgraded from an initial magnitude of 7.3 after further analysis. The quake originated from movement on a local fault at a depth of 25 kilometers (15 miles), the institute said, adding that damage and more aftershocks were expected.

The US Geological Survey measured the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.0 and the depth at 10 kilometers (6 miles). Shallower earthquakes tend to cause more damage.

The Philippines lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur. It is also battered by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines in 1990.


Associated Press reporters Joeal Calupitan and Aaron Favila contributed to this report.

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