At Least 8 People Killed After A Series Of Earthquakes Strike Philippines

Series of strong earthquakes hit Batanes, the Philippines on July 26 and 27, 2019, leaving at least 8 people dead and dozens injured. 

The series started with M4.2 (PHIVOLCS) at 04:13 PHT, July 26, followed by M2.8 at 19:17, M2.4 at 22:13, M5.4 at 04:16 PHT, July 27, M5.9 at 07:37 (the strongest so far) and 18 subsequent quakes with magnitudes ranging from 1.7 to 5.8 over the next 12 hours.

The epicenters of all but M5.4 at 04:16 were located about 14 km (8.7 miles) E of Itbayat, Batanes (population 2 867). M5.4 struck northern parts of Itbayat island and is the primary cause for damage and deaths.

Earthquakes in Batanes registered by EMSC on July 26 and 27, 2019. Credit: Google, TW/SAM

Earthquakes in Batanes registered by EMSC on July 26 and 27, 2019. Credit: Google, TW/SAM

Location of M5.4 earthquake in Batanes, Philippines. Credit: Google, TW/SAM

There were no tsunami warnings issued, but the quakes caused considerable infrastructural damage across Batanes region.

Mayor Raul de Sagon told AFP that 8 people had been killed and around 60 others were hurt. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear, he said.

“We saw houses shaking. Some of the walls of the houses collapsed and fell on the victims. Some people died because they were sleeping soundly since it was still early,” he added.

Roldan Esdicul, head of the Batanes provincial disaster-response office, said the initial quake [M5.4] severely cracked the bell tower of the island’s old limestone church, the 19th-century Santa Maria de Mayan, a popular tourist attraction. The tower crumbled down when the second temblor hit the island, he said.

A one-story hospital was damaged, prompting patients to be evacuated and brought out in the open with dozens of injured quake victims. Some were later crammed into a basketball court with a roof due to heavy rains, Esdicul said.

Itbayat residents were advised not to return to their homes and stay in the town plaza.

Original Article:

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