Disasters & Accidents

Around 300 aftershocks rock central Philippines after M6.7 quake

Manila, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Around 300 aftershocks of the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the island province of Masbate in the central Philippines on Tuesday morning, leaving one person dead, have been recorded in the last 24 hours, one of them of magnitude-5.2.

The epicenter of the new 5.2-magnitude earthquake was also located in the sea near the town of Cataingan at 5.50 am and at a depth of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

The 6.7-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday caused severe damage in Masbate, including ruptures in roads and the collapse of several homes and buildings, including a three-story house that claimed the life of Gilbert Sauro, a retired police official.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said Wednesday that due to so many aftershocks, the agency had advised that damaged houses and buildings be evacuated and inspected by engineers to determine whether or not they could still be used as strong aftershocks could cause further damage to structures and bring them down.

Cataingan Mayor Felipe Cabatana confirmed to local media that 48 people had been injured in the municipality, most of whom were hit by falling objects during the quake.

In the nearby town of Palanas, at least 27 people were hurt after being struck by objects or because their motorcycles crashed as the ground moved.

None of the injured are critical, although search and rescue efforts are underway for possible victims throughout Masbate province.

Cabatana said that in Cataingan, which was the worst hit by the quake, between 5,000 to 6,000 people spent the night sleeping in the streets, as emergency shelters are being used as COVID-19 quarantine centers, some of which were also damaged by the earthquake.

The mayor said that the main concern of the authorities was arranging for temporary shelter for the evacuees as the emergency funds had already been allocated to combating the coronavirus epidemic.

The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area affected by around 90 percent of the world’s seismic and volcanic activity, and which is shaken by some 7,000 tremors a year, most of them moderate.

The last major earthquake to hit the country was one of magnitude-7.1 that killed more than 220 people in the central Philippines in October 2013, and in July 1990, more than 2,400 people died on the island of Luzon after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake, one of the strongest to hit the country. EFE-EPA

sga/pd/tw

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