Dozens Dead as Magnitude-7.1 Earthquake Hits the Philippines

San Pedro Church earthquake damage

The earthquake has caused serious damage to many of the country’s historic churches, like the San Pedro Church in Lohoc, Bohol.
Credit: Robert Henry Poole

(CNN) — A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck the central Philippines on Tuesday, leaving at least 99 people dead and 276 more injured, and rattling many who were celebrating a religious holiday.

The quake, which struck early in the morning, crumbled a number of buildings and sent panicked people streaming into the streets, witnesses said.

The bulk of the casualties — 90 deaths and 166 injuries — came in Bohol province. At least nine were killed in Cebu province and one died in the province of Siquijor, the Philippines News Agency reported, citing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Most of those killed were hit by falling rubble, the agency reported. So far, nearly 2.9 million people from 560,000 families have been affected.

Dozens of people were missing, and authorities were checking into reports of people trapped in collapsed buildings in Cebu and Bohol, the agency reported.

Landslides were reported in Cebu, according to the disaster council, which also reported stampedes at two venues in that province, as well as damage to a port terminal, an airport tower, a fish port, a public market, schools, churches, hospitals, bridges, roads, government buildings and residences across Bohol, Cebu and outlying areas.

Power was restored to most affected areas, except Bohol province, the city of Cadiz and part of the city of Iloilo.

The quake was centered about 620 kilometers (385 miles) south-southeast of Manila, near Catigbian, and its depth was 20 kilometers (12 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Philippines disaster council gave the temblor a slightly higher rating, 7.2 magnitude, than the USGS.

Maryann Zamora, a communications specialist with the charity World Vision, reported seeing glass and concrete in the streets of the city of Cebu, about 60 kilometers north of the epicenter.

“Right now we are in the streets because it is unsafe to be inside,” she said by phone, her voice shaking as one of more than 10 aftershocks hit. “Tell everyone to pray for us.”

Tuesday was a national holiday, the beginning of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

There was no widespread threat of a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, but it warned that earthquakes this large can sometimes cause tsunamis within 100 kilometers of the epicenter.

Catigbian, which has a population of 23,000, is in the province of Bohol.

Tourist Robert Michael Poole said he was riding a bike in Bohol when the earthquake struck and cracked the road in front of him.

“It was very strong,” Poole said. “I live in Tokyo. I am used to earthquakes. But this one was very strong. It shocked a lot of people here.”

Poole said he was able to move around and document some of the destruction, including a giant church that was decimated.

“Lucky thing is that it is a holiday here today and it happened at a time when nobody was in the church,” Poole said.

 

–By Lateef Mungin. CNN’s Joseph Netto and Tim Schwarz contributed to this story.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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