Major quake hits Philippine tourist islands

2013-10-15 07:04
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Deadly quake hits Philippines

Over 20 people have been killed after a major earthquake hit across three islands. See the pictures.

Cebu - At least 20 people were killed on Tuesday when a major 7.1 magnitude earthquake tore down buildings across three islands that are among the Philippines' most popular tourist attractions, authorities said.

Fifteen of the fatalities were in Cebu, the second most important city in the Philippines and a gateway to some of the country's most beautiful beaches, civil defence office spokesperson Reynaldo Balido told reporters.

Five other fatalities were reported on neighbouring Bohol and Siquijor islands, famed for their idyllic white sands and turquoise waters that are typically visited by fast boat from Cebu.

"I was fast sleep when suddenly I woke up because my bed was shaking. I was so shocked, I could do nothing but hide under the bed," Janet Maribao, aged 33, a receptionist in Cebu, told AFP.

"I was so scared, I could not even run out of the house. It was only 30 minutes later that we were able to leave the house."

The quake struck at 08:12 local time (0012 GMT) near Balilihan, a town of about 18 000 people on Bohol, at a depth of 20km, the United States Geological Survey reported.

The town lies across a strait about 60km from Cebu Island.

‘Absolutely devastated’

Residents and tourists reported extensive damage to old churches and modern buildings, including a university, while major roads had also been torn apart.

Patients streamed out of one of Cebu's major hospitals, which was damaged. Local media reported one floor of the building caught fire.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, authorities were struggling to reach or contact damaged areas, with power lines as well as phone networks down, and a full picture of the disaster had yet to emerge.

"Communication lines are quite difficult here," Neil Sanchez, head of the Cebu disaster management office, told ABC-ClimestoneBN television.

"Even the disaster risk reduction management office has been damaged. We had to move elsewhere."

Cebu, with a population of 2.5 million people, is the political, economic, educational and cultural centre of the central Philippines.

It hosts the country's busiest port and largest airport outside of the capital Manila. It also has a major ship building industry.

Bohol is famous for its "Chocolate Hills", more than 1 000 small limestone hills that turn brown during the dry season.

A church on Bohol that was built in the early 1600s by Spanish colonisers collapsed in the quake, according to Robert Michael Poole, a British tourist who was visiting the area.

"It's absolutely devastated... the entire front of the church has collapsed onto the street," Poole told AFP by telephone.

However he said there was nobody in the church at the time of the quake.

Tuesday's quake was followed by at least four aftershocks measuring more than 5.0 in magnitude.

USGS initially reported the quake as having a magnitude of 7.2, but shortly afterwards lowered it to 7.1.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue a Pacific-wide tsunami threat.

The epicentre was 629km from Manila.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of islands that are prone to quakes and volcanic eruptions.

More than 100 people were left dead or missing in February last year after an earthquake struck on Negros island, about 100km from the epicentre of Tuesday's quake.

The deadliest recorded natural disaster in the Philippines occurred in 1976, when a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake devastated the Moro Gulf on the southern island of Mindanao.

Between 5 000 and 8 000 people were killed, according to official estimates.

Read more on:    philippines  |  earthquakes

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.