SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 12 August 2022, Friday |

Powerful earthquake strikes northern Philippines, strongly felt in Manila Previous

Northern Philippines was hit Wednesday by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake, shattering windows of buildings at the epicenter and shaking high-rise towers more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) away in the capital Manila, said US Geological Survey.

The powerful quake struck the mountainous and lightly populated province of Abra on the main island of Luzon at 8:43 am (0043 GMT), the USGS said, after initially measuring the quake at 6.8 magnitude.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths from the quake, which struck about 11 km (six miles) southeast of the town of Dolores and at a shallow depth of 10 km (6 miles).

Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.

A hospital in Abra province was evacuated after the building partially collapsed following the quake, but there were no casualties reported, said officials.

Abra governor Joy Bernos posted photos of the damaged Abra provincial hospital on her Facebook account which showed a gaping hole in the front entrance facade. Other photos showed hospital beds, including one with a patient, wheeled across the road and evacuated hospital staff.
In Lagangilang municipality of Abra province, which felt the full force of the quake, terrified people ran outside their buildings and windows of the local market were shattered, Police Major Edwin Sergio told AFP.

“The quake was very strong,” Sergio said, adding there were minor cracks in the police station building.

“Vegetables and fruits sold in the market were also disarranged after tables were toppled.”

A video posted on Facebook and verified by AFP showed cracks in the asphalt road and ground in the nearby town of Bangued, but there was no visible damage to shops or houses.

A number of people were injured in Bangued and taken to hospital for treatment, police chief Major Nazareno Emia told AFP.

University student Mira Zapata was in her house in San Juan town when she felt “really strong shaking.”

“We started shouting and rushed outside,” she said, as aftershocks continued.

“Our house is ok but houses down the hill were damaged.”

“We are still experiencing aftershocks. We have received reports of damages to houses. But so far no casualties,” said Mayor Rovelyn Villamor in the town of Lagangilang in Abra province.

“We don’t have power supply because that’s automatically cut off due to danger,” Villamor told DZRH radio.

Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told DZRH radio station that strong aftershocks were expected.

“The focus of attention is on Abra and nearby provinces. This is a major earthquake,” Solidum said, adding that landslides had been reported in some parts of Abra, particularly in the town of Manabo.

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.

Eric Singson, a congressman in Ilocos Sur province, also in the north, told DZMM radio station the quake had been felt strongly there.

“The earthquake lasted 30 seconds or more. I thought my house would fall,” said Singson.

“Now, we are trying to reach people …. Right now there are aftershocks so we are outside our home.”

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the immediate dispatch of rescue and relief teams to the earthquake-affected areas, his press secretary said.

Marcos will also fly to Abra province, which is adjacent to his home-province of Ilocos Norte, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles told a news conference.

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.

The Philippines is regularly rocked by quakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Wednesday’s quake was the strongest recorded in the Philippines in years.

In October 2013, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Bohol Island in the central Philippines, killing over 200 people and triggering landslides.

Old churches in the birthplace of Catholicism in the Philippines were badly damaged. Nearly 400,000 were displaced and tens of thousands of houses were damaged.

The powerful quake altered the island’s landscape and a “ground rupture” pushed up a stretch of ground by up to three meters, creating a wall of rock above the epicenter.

On July 16, 1990, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in the northern Philippines created a ground rupture stretching over a hundred kilometers.

Fatalities were estimated to reach over 1,200 and caused major damage to buildings in Manila.

The nation’s volcanology and seismology institute regularly holds quake drills, simulating scenarios in the nation’s active fault lines.

During major earthquakes, the agency said people would find it difficult to stand on upper floors, trees could shake strongly, heavy objects and furniture may topple and large church bells may ring.

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