A magnitude 7.0 earthquake yesterday killed at least five people in the northern Philippines, toppling buildings and shaking high-rise towers more than 300km away in the capital, Manila.
The shallow and powerful quake struck the mountainous and lightly populated province of Abra on the main island of Luzon at 8:43am, the US Geological Survey said.
Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones. This one left more than 100 people injured across the hilly region, triggered dozens of landslides, damaged buildings and knocked out power.
“We felt really strong shaking. We started shouting and rushed outside,” said university student Mira Zapata in the San Juan municipality of Abra, which took the full force of the quake.
“Our house is OK, but houses down the hill were damaged,” she said.
As buildings shook and walls cracked in the municipality of Dolores, people ran outside, police Major Edwin Sergio said.
Photo: AFP / Bangued Police
In Bangued, the provincial capital of Abra, a 23-year-old woman was killed after a wall fell on her, police said.
At least 78 were injured in the province.
A video posted on Facebook and verified by Agence France-Presse showed cracks in the asphalt road and ground in Bangued.
Two construction workers in the nearby landlocked province of Benguet died in separate incidents, police said.
Another person was killed when boulders smashed into the building site where he was working in Kalinga province, police said.
Six other workers were injured.
Police said an elderly woman in Suyo municipality in Ilocos Sur province suffered fatal injuries after she was buried by a landslide while out walking.
In Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Ilocos Sur, centuries-old structures built during the Spanish colonial period were damaged, police said.
Yesterday’s quake was one of the strongest recorded in the Philippines in years and was felt across swathes of Luzon. It was followed by nearly 300 aftershocks, the local seismological agency said.
Residents and office workers in Manila were evacuated from high-rise buildings.
In Taipei, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) asked Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Wallace Chow (周民淦) to convey his condolences to Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Deputy Representative Teodoro Luis Javelosa, Jr, and to say that the National Fire Agency was on standby to provide assistance if needed.
Representative to the Philippines Michael Hsu (徐佩勇) also reached out to Silvestre Bello III, the newly appointed MECO chairman and representative to Taiwan, to express condolences and offer assistance.
According to the information obtained by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines, Taiwanese living in the country were reportedly safe.
The ministry said that Taiwanese living in the Philippines needing assistance can call TECO at +63-917-819-4597, or ask relatives and friends in Taiwan to call the ministry’s Emergency Contact Center at 0800-085-095.
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