Violent earthquake kills 5, injures dozens in northern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A strong earthquake caused landslides and damaged buildings in the northern Philippines on Wednesday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A strong earthquake caused landslides and damaged buildings in the northern Philippines on Wednesday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens. In the capital, hospital patients were evacuated and terrified people rushed outside.

The magnitude 7 quake was centered in a mountainous region of Abra province, said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, who described the mid-morning tremor as a major quake. .

“The ground shook like I was on a swing and the lights suddenly went out. We rushed out of the office, I heard screams and some of my companions were in tears,” said Michael Brillantes, a security officer from Abra town in Lagangilang, near the epicenter.

“It was the strongest earthquake I’ve felt and I thought the ground was going to split open,” Brillantes told The Associated Press by cellphone.

At least five people died, mostly in collapsed structures. A villager died when he was hit by falling cement slabs in his house in Abra, where dozens of others were injured. In Benguet province, a worker has been pinned to death after a small building under construction collapsed in the strawberry-growing mountain town of La Trinidad.

Hundreds of homes and buildings had cracked walls, some of which collapsed in Abra, where President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office less than a month ago, planned to travel Thursday to meet with officials. victims and local officials.

Marcos Jr. told a press conference that he was in his office at the Malacanang presidential palace complex by the river when the chandeliers began to sway and make clicking noises. “It was very strong,” he said of the quakes.

In a chilling near-death experience, Filipino photojournalist Harley Palangchao and his companions were descending into two pickup trucks in Mountain Province when they suddenly heard thunder and saw an avalanche of rocks as big as cars raining down ahead them from an imposing Mountain.

Amid shouts from his companions in their van to “back up, back up!” the 44-year-old father of three put his camera in the front seat and took what he feared would be the last photos of his life. The van in front of them was grazed by a rock, injuring one, but he and others in the second van backed up fairly quickly and escaped unharmed.

“I thought there should be at least a record if something happened to us,” Palangchao told the AP. “It was an awful experience.”

The Red Cross released a photo of a three-storey building leaning precariously towards a debris-covered road in Abra. Video taken by a panicked witness showed parts of an old stone church tower peeling off and falling in a cloud of dust on top of a hill.

Patients, some in wheelchairs, and medical staff were evacuated from at least two hospitals in Manila, about 300 kilometers (200 miles) south of Lagangilang, but were later told to return after engineers failed to found only a few minor cracks on the walls.

The strength of the earthquake has been lowered from the initial magnitude of 7.3 after further analysis. The quake was triggered by movement in a local fault at a depth of 17 kilometers (10 miles), the institute said, adding that it expected damage and further aftershocks.

The Philippines sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of faults around the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquakes occur. It is also hit by around 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines in 1990.


Associated Press reporter Joeal Calupitan contributed to this report.

Jim Gomez and Aaron Favila, Associated Press

Carol N. Valencia