Powerful earthquake struck in Northern Philippines; 4 dead

 Wednesday, July 27, 2022 

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A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Wednesday killing 4 people, damaging buildings and sending strong tremors through the capital, Manila. 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.

Northern Philippines is a tourist attraction and attract millions of international travellers throughout the year. The northern part of the country is dotted with islands, historical tours, sand surfing, trekking and much more.

This earth quake struck about 11 km (six miles) southeast of the town of Dolores at a shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles), according to U.S. Geological Survey data.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said that despite the sad reports about the damages caused by the earthquake, we are assuring quick response to those in need and affected by this calamity.

The quake hit close to Marcos family’s political stronghold. Renato Solidum, director of the state seismology agency, told DZRH radio station, strong aftershocks were expected. The focus of attention is on Abra and nearby provinces. This is a major earthquake.

Abalos said 173 buildings were damaged and 58 landslides reported, with 44 of the 60 injured in Abra province.

A hospital in Abra province was evacuated after the building partially collapsed but there were no casualties reported there, officials said. Abra’s vice governor, Joy Bernos, posted photos of the damaged Abra hospital on her Facebook account, which showed a gaping hole in its facade.

Abra, home to nearly 250,000 people, is a landlocked province in the northern Philippines. Its deep valleys and sloping hills are enclosed by rugged mountains.

The Philippines is prone to natural disasters and is located on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a band of volcanoes and fault lines that arcs round the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Earthquakes are frequent and there are an average of 20 typhoons each year, some triggering deadly landslides. Eric Singson, a congressman in Ilocos Sur province, also in the north, told DZMM radio station the quake had been felt strongly there and lasted 30 seconds or more.

The quake damaged heritage buildings in the city of Vigan, known for its old Spanish colonial architecture, on the west coast of Luzon.

Senator Imee Marcos said several churches were damaged. The antique bricks and coral stones fell down from the Bantay Bell Tower.

The quake was also felt in Manila where several buildings were evacuated, with some people forced to flee from the 30th floor of one building, and the city’s metro rail systems were halted at rush hour.

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