7.2 magnitude quake strikes Philippines

Death toll rises to at least 161 from strong quake

October 15, 2013

The death toll from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the central Philippine islands of Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor has risen to 161.

A magnitude-seven earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs,said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine institute of Volcanology and Seismology. This one had a magnitude of 7.2.o;

No tsunami warning was issued because the earthquake was land-based.

The quake happened at 08:12 (00:12 GMT) on a national holiday. The US Geological Survey said it struck below the island of Bohol, where officials reported the most casualties.

Tuesday's earthquake was centered 56 km deep below Carmen town on Bohol island, about 400 km southeast of the capital, manila, and was felt across the region.

According to the local seismology agency, there have been 413 aftershocks recorded. Both the islands of Bohol and Cebu have already been declared under "state of calamity."

About 291 people injured in the quake are being treated at a local hospital in Tagbilran capitol city of Bohol. All the patients of the hospital were transferred to the open ground, fearing building collapse from aftershocks.

An official from the government agency that monitors earthquake activity was quoted as saying that this was the strongest tremor felt in the area in the last 23 years.

The Philippine Red Cross said in a statement that they had mobilized staff and volunteers to affected areas.

The earthquake destroyed 605 houses and damaged 1,461 other structures in Bohol and Cebu provinces

The governor of Bohol, said a city hall building was damaged on the island.

Heavy damage to roads, bridges and historic churches, some dating back to the Spanish colonial period in the 1500s and the 1600s, was also reported in Bohol and Cebu.

The Cebu city government office is reportedly damaged. Cebu, about 570 km south of Manila, has a population of more than 2.6 million people.

The Department of Public Works and Highways said 31 bridges were partially damaged or destroyed in the two provinces. Roads and flood-control structures also were damaged, as were seaports, airports, churches, public buildings, hospitals and businesses.

President Benigno Aquino is expected to visit the affected areas on Wednesday.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

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