Tuesday 17 September 2019

Death toll rises in Philippines earthquake

Workers use heavy equipment to clear an area as rescue efforts continue for people still trapped (AP Photo/Vhic Y Naluz)
Workers use heavy equipment to clear an area as rescue efforts continue for people still trapped (AP Photo/Vhic Y Naluz)

Bullit Marquez

Rescuers found more bodies overnight in the rubble of a supermarket that crashed down in a powerful earthquake in the northern Philippines, raising the death toll to 11, officials said.

The bodies of four victims were pulled from Chuzon Supermarket and three other villagers died due to collapsed house walls, said Mayor Condralito dela Cruz of Porac town in Pampanga province, north of Manila.

Red Cross volunteers, army troops, police and villagers used four cranes, crow bars and sniffer dogs to look for the missing, some of whom were still yelling for help on Monday night.

Authorities inserted a large orange tube into the rubble to blow in oxygen in the hope of helping people still pinned there to breathe.

On Tuesday morning, rescuers pulled out a man alive, sparking cheers and applause.

"We're all very happy, many clapped their hands in relief because we're still finding survivors after several hours," Porac Councillor Maynard Lapid said, adding that another victim was expected to be pulled out alive soon.

Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda said at least 10 people died in her province, including those who perished in hard-hit Porac town.

The 6.1-magnitude quake damaged many houses, concrete roads, bridges, Roman Catholic churches and an international airport terminal at Clark Freeport, a former American air base, in Pampanga. Another child died in nearby Zambales province, officials said.

At least 24 people remained missing in the rice-growing agricultural region, mostly in the rubble of the collapsed supermarket in Porac, while 81 others were injured, according to the government's disaster-response agency.

The four-storey building housing the supermarket crashed down when the quake shook Pampanga as well as several other provinces and the capital, Manila, on the main northern island of Luzon.

The earthquake was caused by movement in a local fault at a depth of eight miles near the north-western town of Castillejos in Zambales province, said Renato Solidum, who heads the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

More than 400 aftershocks have been recorded, mostly unfelt.

One of the world's most disaster-prone countries, the Philippines has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because it lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismically active arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News