Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Earthquake strikes northern Philippines, killing eight




Earthquake strikes northern Philippines, killing eight

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The damage made to the Sta Maria de Mayan Church after a pair of strong earthquakes of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 struck the region in Itbayat on Batanes island, on July 27, 2019. AFP

Earthquake strikes northern Philippines, killing eight

Eight people were killed and dozens injured when a series of earthquakes struck islands in the far northern Philippines early Saturday, toppling historic buildings and sending terrified locals fleeing their homes.

The tremors hit the province of Batanes, a group of sparsely populated islets north of the nation’s largest Luzon island, tearing deep cracks in roads and forcing the evacuation of a hospital.

Authorities said some of the dead, including two babies under a year old, were crushed by the walls of their own homes.

“We saw houses shaking. Some of the walls of the houses collapsed and fell on the victims,” Police sergeant Uzi Villa told AFP.

“Some people died because they were sleeping soundly since it was still early,” he added.

Many people were still asleep when the first tremor struck around 4:15am (3:15am Cambodian time), followed just under four hours later by a second, stronger jolt.

The biggest of the quakes – of magnitude 5.4 and 5.9 – struck within hours of each other, according to the US Geological Survey.

Three aftershocks

At least three aftershocks followed, which prompted edgy locals to spend hours in town squares waiting for the string of quakes to end.

Authorities said two people were reported missing, though they have not completed a search of the area because debris was blocking some roads.

Raul de Sagon, mayor of worst-hit Itbayat town, told AFP that eight people had been killed and around 100 others were hurt, including seven serious cases that had to be flown out.

Itbayat’s hospital was damaged and patients had to be wheeled to safety, while at least one high school and the area’s 19th-century church were heavily damaged.

Batanes is pounded every year by tropical cyclones and typhoons that blast through the Philippines and homes are built of stone to survive the annual onslaught.

“We always experience typhoons so houses here are made to withstand strong winds,” de Sagon said. “But we were not prepared for earthquakes such as this.”

The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

The country’s most recent deadly quake occurred in April when at least 11 people were killed and a supermarket collapsed in a 6.3-magnitude tremor that hit a region north of the capital Manila.

MOST VIEWED

  • Public warned of dengue risks amid rainy season

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has issued an eight-point plan to destroy mosquitoes carrying dengue fever amid the rainy season. In a four-page directive, Bun Heng warned that while the number of dengue cases has dropped sharply compared to last year, it could increase

  • Thirteen charged in UK migrant lorry tragedy

    Thirteen suspects arrested by French police over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a refrigerated lorry in Britain have been charged with people trafficking, a judicial source said on Saturday. Six of the group – mainly Vietnamese and French nationals – were held on Tuesday in the

  • Cambodian Blue Helmet dies of virus

    The last rites for Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeeper Sar Savy, who died on Friday at 63 from Covid-19 while on a mission in the Republic of Mali, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the UN base there. Cambodia’s National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces

  • World Bank donates $15 million in aid

    The World Bank on Friday approved $15 million for a medical training system to help Cambodia equip doctors with more skills before they start work. The budget, which was granted by the International Development Association (IDA), is intended to improve health care services. The World Bank

  • Ministry signs MoU to develop ICT training

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IT Academy STEP Cambodia (STEP) to further develop the Sisters of Code project. The project trains female students in computer programming, and enhances information and communication technology (ICT) textbooks

  • Masseuse caught planting fake bills

    Four suspects were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday for allegedly stealing money from a customer who had visited their massage parlour for a cupping session last Friday in Anlong Kgnan village, in Sen Sok district’s Khmuonh commune. District police chief Hour