At least five dead after Philippines earthquake

 

At least five people were killed today when a strong earthquake shook the central Philippines, destroying buildings and triggering landslides which buried dozens of houses, trapping residents.

The 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 Oriental province. As many as 30 houses were buried and at least 29 people were missing, Mayor Ernesto Reyes said.

Mr Reyes said four people died there, including a student at a college and two others in an elementary school. Another person died in the collapse of a town market.

The quake, which hit at 11.49am local time (3.49am GMT), 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 Besario.

“We're now getting shovels and chainsaws to start a rescue because there were people trapped inside. Some of them were yelling for help earlier,” he told The Associated Press by phone.

Three key bridges in the town suffered cracks and were no longer passable, he added.

Philippine 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, shopping centres and offices.

The epicentre was closest to Tayasan, a coastal town of about 32,000 people flanked by mountains in Negros Oriental province. A child there died when a concrete fence of a house collapsed, said Benito Ramos, head of the Office of Civil Defence.

“So far one dead, but we could not yet account for the damage to buildings,” Tayasan police officer Alfred Vicente Silvosa told The AP by phone. He said there were still aftershocks “so we are outside, at the town plaza. We cannot inspect buildings yet because it's dangerous.”

“I felt the building shaking, so I rushed out of the building. Our computers, shelves, plates, the cupboards, water dispenser all fell,” he said.

A three-storey office building also collapsed in La Libertad, but the occupants managed to run out.

Negros Oriental police chief Edward Carranza said the quake damaged many houses in Guihulngan and he ordered his men to help displaced residents find shelter.

Officials in some areas suspended work and cancelled classes. Power and telecommunications were knocked out in several places.

Mr Carranza 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.”

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred 44 miles (72km) north of Dumaguete city on Negros and hit at a depth of 29 miles (46km). The area is about 400 miles (650km) south-east of the capital, Manila.

President Benigno Aquino III's spokesman said authorities did not force people to evacuate but implored those along the shore to be vigilant. The coast guard grounded all vessels while the tsunami alert was in effect.

A shopping centre in San Carlos city in neighbouring Negros Occidental province was damaged when its windows were shattered by the shaking, said civil defence chief Mr Ramos.

The quake was also felt in Cebu, where it lasted about 30 seconds.

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 1990.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all