Sunday 26 May 2019

Second quake hits Philippines after 11 die in first tremor

Rescue workers carry a survivor out of the collapsed Chuzon supermarket in the town of Porac. Photo: Getty Images
Rescue workers carry a survivor out of the collapsed Chuzon supermarket in the town of Porac. Photo: Getty Images

Harry Cockburn

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck central Philippines the day after a deadly tremor hit the north of the country.

The second earthquake yesterday was more powerful than the 6.1 magnitude quake which struck on Monday.

Classes and office work were suspended in San Julian on Samar Island where cracks on roads and small buildings and a church were reported.

Power was deliberately cut as a precaution in the quake's aftermath, officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage from the second earthquake.

The epicentre of yesterday's quake was in the island's Eastern Samar province and prompted residents to dash out of houses and office workers to run to safety.

The earthquake was centred 13km east of Tutubigan. It was relatively deep at 70.2km, according to the US Geological Survey.

A supermarket crashed down in Monday's powerful earthquake, which damaged buildings and an airport in the northern Philippines. The death toll is now 11 and 24 people are missing.

Mayor Condralito dela Cruz said the bodies of four victims had been pulled from the rubble of Chuzon supermarket in the town of Porac overnight. Rescuers used cranes, crowbars and sniffer dogs to look for people in the rubble, some of whom were yelling for help.

Authorities inserted a tube to blow in oxygen in the hope of helping people trapped there to breathe. Yesterday morning rescuers pulled out a man alive, sparking cheers. "We're all very happy, many clapped their hands in relief because we're still finding survivors after several hours," said Porac councillor Maynard Lapid, who said another victim was expected to be pulled out alive.

The US Geological Survey's preliminary estimate is that more than 49 million people were exposed to some shaking from the earthquake, with more than 14 million people likely to feel moderate shaking or more. People described the earthquake as feeling like sea waves. Clark airport was closed temporarily because of damaged check-in counters, ceilings and parts of the departure area, airport official Jaime Melo said, and added that seven people were slightly injured and more than 100 flights were cancelled.

The Philippines is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because it lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismically active arc of volcanoes and fault lines.

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