Philippines earthquake: Death toll rises in tourist islands Bohol and Cebu

Markets and buildings collapsed in Bohol and in the nearby Cebu province when the 7.2 magnitude quake struck

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has struck popular tourist islands in the Philippines killing over 90 people, some of whom were hit whilst praying in a centuries-old church, according to reports.

Panic was sparked when low-rise buildings collapsed on at least two islands and historic churches crumbled during the quake. Areas were hit by power cuts, stopping some transport links and forcing hospitals to evacuate patients to open spaces as aftershocks rocked the city of about 870,000 people.

The Associated Press have put the death toll up to "at least" 93 and more than 260 left injured.

Markets and buildings collapsed in Bohol and in the nearby Cebu province when the quake struck at 8.12am this morning. A state of calamity has been declared by the Government in both provinces, state media reported.

Local police report that 77 were killed on nearby Bohol island, where the epicentre of the quake was located and another on Siquijor island according to Rey Balido, a spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

At least 15 people died on the island of Cebu, he said. Eight people who had been queuing with others for government aid payments in Cebu were hurt in a stampede caused by the quake.

There were no reports of any foreign tourists among the casualties.

Airline Cebu Pacific cancelled flights to Cebu and Bohol due to the aftershocks and partial damage to airports. Ferry services were also suspended. The Philippine volcanology agency reported at least 20 aftershocks after the initial quake, which was measured at a depth of about 56 km (35 miles).

Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told Philippine radio that parts of the Tagbilaran port in Bohol had cracked and collapsed. No tsunami warnings were issued although Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency issued a precautionary warning of possible high waves for an area stretching from North Sulawesi to parts of Papua.

Archbishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran city in Bohol said two people were killed by falling debris whilst praying in a church in the town of Loon. The church is Bohol's biggest and dates back to 1753.

He said a church in Loboc town had also been damaged by the quake Both churches were designated historical treasures, he said. The belfry of the Baclayon church in Bohol province had also crumbled and its facade cracked.

“The damages, at least based on our initial assessment, are enormous,” Medroso told Philippine television.

“The quake was really strong. I am 75 years old already, I have undergone so many earthquakes, but this is the strongest I have experienced,” he said.

Television pictures showed that the belfry of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, which was also built in the 1700s, had collapsed.

Strong quakes are not uncommon in the central Philippines.

Tens of thousands of people were ordered from their homes when a tsunami warning was issued after an undersea quake in the region in September 2012.

One person was killed in that quake, which resulted in only minor damage and small waves in some areas.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee