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?
- 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.