A strong earthquake has struck the northern Philippines, killing at least four people, toppling buildings and causing panic among residents.
Here is what we know.
- At 8:43am (00:43 GMT), the mountainous and lightly populated province of Abra in the northern Philippine island of Luzon was hit by an earthquake.
- The earthquake was measured at a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 7.3 by the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), which later revised the magnitude down to 7.
- The earthquake was one of the strongest to have hit the country in years.
- It was also felt in the capital, Manila, where several buildings were evacuated, and the city’s metro rail systems were halted at rush hour.
Where did it happen?
- According to USGS, the epicentre was about 11km (7 miles) southeast of the town of Dolores, in Abra province, at a shallow depth of 10km (6 miles).
How many casualties?
- At least five people died.
- Two people were killed in Benguet province; one in Abra province; and one more in another province, Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos told a news conference. Sixty people were injured, he said.
- The man killed in Abra was hit by falling cement slabs in his house. At least 25 others were injured in the province.
- A construction worker was also hit by debris and died in the strawberry-growing mountain town of La Trinidad in Benguet province, where some roads were shut by landslides and boulders.
Is it safe now? And what is next?
- Renato Solidum, director of the state seismology agency, told the DZRH radio station that strong aftershocks were expected.
- “The focus of attention is on Abra and nearby provinces,” Solidum said.
- The earthquake was followed by more than 200 aftershocks, the local seismological agency informed.
- Several of the subsequent earthquakes measured from magnitude 4.7 to 4.9, according to the USGS.
- President Ferdinand Marcos Jr ordered rescue and relief teams to be sent to Abra. The newly elected president is also expected to travel to the epicentre on Thursday.
- Philippine Red Cross first aid teams are on the ground.
- Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Lo, reporting from Manila, said classes were suspended in the affected areas.
- National disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal said road clearing operations were under way.
- According to a CNN report, state seismologists said there were no risks of a tsunami because the earthquake was located on land.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies