Philippines quake death toll rises
06 February 2012, 04:10
Manila - A strong earthquake in the central
Philippines killed at least 13 people on Monday as it destroyed
buildings and triggered landslides that buried dozens of houses,
trapping residents. At least 29 people were missing.
6.8-magnitude quake, in a narrow strait just off Negros Island, caused a
landslide in Guihulngan, a city of about 180 000 people in Negros
As many as 30 houses were buried and at least 29 people were missing, Mayor Ernesto Reyes said.
situation is bad because if you are covered by landslide for one hour,
two hours, how can you breathe?" he said. "But we just hope for the
best, that there are still survivors."
Rescuers were using picks and shovels to dig for survivors, he said.
said at least 10 people were confirmed dead in his town, including
students at a college and an elementary school and others in a market
that collapsed. About 100 were injured.
Yelling for help
quake triggered another landslide in the mountain village of Solongon
in La Libertad town, also in Negros Oriental. An unknown number of
people were trapped, said La Libertad police chief inspector Eric Arrol
"We're now getting shovels and chain saws to start a
rescue because there were people trapped inside. Some of them were
yelling for help earlier," Besario said by phone. Three key bridges in
the town suffered cracks and were no longer passable, he said.
seismologists briefly issued a tsunami alert for the central islands.
Five bamboo and wooden cottages were washed out from a beach resort in
La Libertad by huge waves, but there were no reports of injuries, said
police Superintendent Ernesto Tagle. Elsewhere along the coast, people
rushed out of schools, malls and offices.
The epicentre was
closest to Tayasan, a coastal town of about 32 000 people flanked by
mountains in Negros Oriental province. Two died there, including a child
when a concrete fence of a house collapsed, said Benito Ramos, head of
the Office of Civil Defence.
Another child was killed in a church
when a wall collapsed during a funeral in Negros Oriental's Jimalalud
town, Mayor Reynaldo Tuanda said.
Tayasan police officer Alfred
Vicente Silvosa said by phone that aftershocks were preventing people
from returning to their homes. Seismologists recorded nearly 45
"We are outside, at the
town plaza. We cannot inspect buildings yet because it's dangerous,"
Silvosa said. "I felt the building shaking, so I rushed out of the
building. Our computers, shelves, plates, the cupboards, water dispenser
A three-storey office building also collapsed in La Libertad, but occupants managed to run out.
Oriental police chief Edward Carranza said the temblor damaged many
houses in Guihulngan and he ordered his men to help displaced residents
Officials in some areas suspended work and cancelled classes. Power and telecommunications were knocked out in several places.
said police rushed out of his building when the quake struck. "All my
personnel ran out fearing our building would collapse," he said.
"Now it's shaking again," he said as an aftershock hit. "My keychain is dancing."
US Geological Survey said the quake was centred 72km north of Dumaguete
city on Negros and hit at a depth of 46km. The area is about 650km
southeast of the capital, Manila.
The Philippines is located in
the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where earthquakes and volcanic activity are
common. A 7.7-magnitude quake killed nearly 2 000 people in Luzon in