(Update: upgrades death toll)
Manila, Jun 29 (EFE).- Rescue teams on Friday found the bodies of four people who went missing in a landslide following a strong earthquake that struck the northern Philippines this week, raising the death toll from the incident to 10, local media reported.
The magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Luzon, the most populous island in the Philippines, and the location of its capital city.
The victims, aged between 15 and 38, were found in the province of Abra, which along with Bengued and Montaña was among the most affected by the earthquake, the Inquirer newspaper reported.
The tremor has left at least 136 people injured and forced 7,300 people to flee their homes, over 1,000 of whom are still in evacuation shelters.
The authorities on Friday maintained the alert for aftershocks, with more than 1,000 recorded since Tuesday.
The province of Abra has declared a state of calamity due to “the destruction of houses, buildings and bridges that has paralyzed commercial activity”, and authorities have urged some not to return to their homes until the damage is fully assessed, a spokesman for the emergency service told ABS.
The strong earthquake, recorded at 8:43 local time (00:43 GMT) on Wednesday, wreaked havoc in nearly 30 towns and damaged historic buildings and infrastructure facilities, causing property damage of more than 48.3 million Philippine pesos (around $875,000).
The quake damaged a 16th-century cathedral and several historic structures in Vigan, the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.
“The work of assessing damage to historic buildings has not yet concluded for fear of collapses” amid the continuous aftershocks of the earthquake, the spokesperson of Vigan’s emergency service, Neela Alquiza, told EFE.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a long horseshoe-shaped seismically active belt of earthquake epicenters, volcanoes, and tectonic plate boundaries that fringes the Pacific basin.
Some 7,000 tremors shake the belt each year, but most are moderate in intensity. EFE